Between its peak in 2002 and the depths of the recession in 2009, Mitsubishi’s U.S. gross sales plunged 84 p.c. Market share plunged from greater than 2 p.c to lower than half of 1 p.c. Might the corporate survive in America?
The lack of product gave observers much more motive to doubt the model’s endurance. Larger SUVs such because the Montero and Endeavor disappeared. Mitsubishi’s midsize sedan, the Galant, generated its ultimate gross sales in early 2014, a decade after the Mitsubishi Diamante departed. The discontinuation of the Eclipse and Lancer Evolution spelled the top of Mitsubishi’s efficiency bona fides. Then Mitsubishi additionally ended the Lancer, leaving the Mirage G4 to combat America’s sedan battle.
In the meantime, Mitsubishi’s plans to bolster its U.S. lineup haven’t all the time translated to actuality. The Outlander plug-in hybrid was initially sure for the U.S. market in 2014 or 2015 — it’s nonetheless not right here. As for U.S. manufacturing, which Mitsubishi’s president Osamu Masuko mentioned in 2013 wouldn’t finish, the ultimate U.S.-built Mitsubishi rolled off the Illinois line final 12 months.
Regardless of the heavy load of proof that will assist the assumption that Mitsubishi Motors USA was on its demise mattress, Mitsubishi is on monitor in 2017 to promote 100,000 automobiles within the U.S. for the primary time since 2007, having loved 5 consecutive years of development. Settling in for the lengthy haul, Mitsubishi has additionally signed Mini’s previous advert company, Butler Shine Stern & Companions.
In response to Automotive Information, Butler Shine Stern & Companions’ surrendered its contract with BMW’s Mini model, which it had held since 2005, earlier this 12 months. Sharp cost-cutting from Mini eliminated some duties from BSSP and shoved them again to BMW’s important company, Common McCann. Common mandated evaluations of what California-based BSSP referred to as a “very robust” 11-year relationship might have begun to chafe, as properly.
However, BSSP garnered consideration for campaigns such because the Mini Clubman’s Defy Labels, a Tremendous Bowl effort that centered on athletes corresponding to Serena Williams, Tony Hawk, and Randy Johnson; a typically edgy marketing campaign that includes Abby Wambach, as properly.It’s troublesome to think about Mitsubishi heading in an identical route, however for a model with few attention-grabbing automobiles, an attention-grabbing advertising and marketing marketing campaign wouldn’t go amiss. Till the Eclipse Cross launches as a part of Mitsubishi’s rising crossover lineup, the model is counting on the Mirage (up 5 p.c to 16,804 gross sales to date this 12 months), Outlaner Sport (down 9 p.c to 20,874), and Outlander (up 33 p.c to 23,260) to seize the minds of U.S. consumers.
For the previous seven years, Mitsubishi was linked with Omnicom-owned 180LA. The model’s final main advertising and marketing splash concerned a link-up between the 2018 Eclipse Cross and August 21’s photo voltaic eclipse. Make of that what you’ll.
[Images: Mitsubishi Motors]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Reality About Automobiles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.