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LOS ANGELES - With its sales in free fall, Mitsubishi Motors is turning for the first time to customer ride-and-drive promotions - an increasingly popular but expensive way to reach consumers.

A 10-city tour will run from late July through September and will focus mainly on the Galant sedan and the Endeavor SUV, says Ian Beavis, senior vice president of marketing for Mitsubishi Motors North America.

The Galant and Endeavor are crucial to Mitsubishi's sales turnaround, Beavis says.

Mitsubishi has increased ad spending for the two nameplates and is offering a free 36-month/45,000-mile maintenance program to purchasers of the two vehicles.

Mitsubishi's U.S. sales are running 23 percent behind last year's pace, totaling 89,501 units during the first five months of the year.

The company initially balked at a ride-and-drive program because of the cost. But Beavis says now is the time to act.

"We believe we can close deals once people get behind the wheel," he says. "We finally got the cost to the point where we could afford it."

Mitsubishi has been running TV commercials since February that pit the Galant and the Endeavor against rivals in acceleration, accident avoidance and braking tests.

Now Mitsubishi wants to show consumers firsthand how the two vehicles stand up against the competition.

Beavis would not reveal the program's cost. But marketers who have conducted similar ride-and-drives say they cost a minimum of $100,000 a weekend.

Beavis says his ride-and-drives will run about five weekdays in each city, or over two weekends.

Beavis hopes to attract about 12,000 consumers

Full Story HERE
 

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is it me, or does this seem like its despiration time? maybe they should have worked on producing good "production cars" instead of the effort spent on low volume cars like the evo. cause even if people get behind the wheel, the product is still crap. oh, BTW, wonder if the demo models are going to be improved or tweeked just for this promotion.
 

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Mitsubishi needs a better marketing campaign. There is little brushing up to do with their vehicles: a new Montero? a new Montero Sport? a new Eclipse? Besides that, the Lancer is fine, the Galant is fine, and the Endeavor is okay.
It isn't 'Wake Up and Drive', no more rock music, or comparing Toyota and Honda's warranty that is going to bring in more buyers. Something spiffy and cool like Caddy's latest commercials, which really helped Caddy's revitalization program. An American Revolution helped Chevrolet. Something like 'Something You Really Wanna Drive'.
Not only that: another smart strategy. Lower the prices on Galant, and then they can hit Toyota and Honda. Make the 230 hp V-6 models start at $21,000 and they will bomb Toyota and Honda with their weak standard engines....
 

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:type: how about this for a slogan "mitsubishi the other import car maker" or "mitusbishi, we were in 2 fast 2 furious not too long ago".. face is, mitsu wont survive, what they should have done when sales started sinking was arm themselves to the teeth with well priced , well styled new models. but what they did was waste time/effort/money on useless campaigns and product placement (2f2f). now with their image hurt and stronger competition out there, they're doomed. if i were an exec at mitsu, i'd be looking to offer rebates and try to build fleet sales just to keep things going. and a new exciting car wouldnt hurt either!
 

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a new exciting car wouldnt hurt either!
well, actually, the EVO is pretty exciting. a grocery getter with 271 horses and AWD. not bad. the problem is that the product line has sucked so bad for so long, and regardless of what they throw out now, it's going to be tough for them to come back. remember Hyundai form the 80's? they built the worst crap available, and news got out quick to stay away. even though they build decent products now, the public is still quite cautious of them because of the past. low prices and a good warranty help, but they're still not snagging Honda and Toyota shoppers. they are selling cars to people who want and need the most car for the money, and don't care about resale value.

the ride and drive thing seems to work well. SAAB has used it for a while now, with salespeople as well as customers. they bring together the SAABs and their competition and allow people to compare them. it's pretty cool if you've got it all over the competition, but with Mitsu, i don't think it would do anything more than show their weaknesses. who knows, though? i haven't driven a Mitsu in a while, and the new ones could be fabulous.... i guess we'll see, huh?
 

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Originally posted by Rex Raider@Jun 23 2004, 11:46 AM
too little, too late...
I agree. Look at the total picture. With no great mass-production products out there and no funding from their partners (ie. DCX) and investors (downgraded) they are unlikely to be able to develop something to turn themselves around for a while. With their domestic sales (Japan) plummetting and poor reputation, here and there, they won't have funds to carry them long enough to get through a product cycle it would take to recover. IMO they're done.
 
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