The Mitsubishi brand is getting a makeover in the United States, including the first new dealership facility appearance package in 16 years, and a new product lineup, as models are redesigned based on shared architecture with global alliance partners Renault and Nissan.
Yet Richard Nisbett, Mitsubishi National Advisory Board chairman, said he's most blown away by Mitsubishi's new digital marketing scheme, which includes an offer to reimburse dealers 100 percent for spending on approved digital marketing.
"If there's one takeaway, it's Mitsubishi's emphasis on upping their digital game," said Nisbett, 58. He is dealer principal at Daytona Mitsubishi, an exclusive Mitsubishi store in Florida. Nisbett split the franchise out of what had been a Mitsubishi-Kia dual in 2018, and moved Mitsubishi into another building.
In 2019, Mitsubishi reported its best U.S. sales since 2007, at 121,046. That was an increase of 2.5 percent from 2018, and the seventh consecutive year of annual sales increases for the brand. Mitsubishi had 355 U.S. dealerships, including 229 exclusives, as of Jan. 1, 2019, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Special Correspondent Jim Henry interviewed Nisbett by phone. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: Generally speaking, how'd it go in 2019?
A: It's good. With regard to our sales, we as a company have had seven straight years of sales growth in the U.S. And as a result of the alliance, we have new product coming, as well as some complete refreshes on our existing products.