|Reader Josh Howard relates the story of why he recommended a Mitsubishi to a co-worker…he’s a brave soul
After reading Derek’s excellent piece on Mitsubishi and their irrelevance in the American marketplace, I began thinking about the brand, and their history in the United States. A few months ago, I went against my better instincts and actually recommended one to a coworker despite knowing what Mitsubishi turned into in the early 2000’s…not to mention a turbocharged DSM car some years prior.
But, before you condemn me, consider the situation. The person in question is an early twenties receptionist/sales assistant whom I work with She’s kind and smart and most certainly capable of deciding on a car for herself. The woman’s done well for herself, but money has been tight as she prepares to get married. Her previous vehicle, a 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport (and my current beater) gave her more problems than she could endure.
As most people know, these Jeeps are prone to chronic overheating as they age and the radiators get stopped up. Eventually, she came to work so frustrated one day that I told her I’d take it off her hands just so she wouldn’t have to worry about it.
In the following weeks, she drove her fiance’s older Chevy pickup truck to work and commenced her search for a car. Being a very long time Nissan owner, I recommended a used Altima or two. Our location in the Detroit area meant that domestic cars fresh off lease would be an appealing alternative
Fusions and Sebrings were looked at, but reject. My Altima recommendation ended up being out of her range with too many miles. Then, the ’09 Mitsubishi Galant showed up. It was metallic white, always looked clean, was newer than the other cars she looked at, had very low miles, and was ‘Japanese’ with a small engine. She almost immediately wanted a test drive.
In comparison to anything she had been driving, the Mitsubishi seemed luxurious, sporty, and everything worked! The price was thousands less than the competition and she felt comfortable driving it. It excited her and the thought of having a newer car that was reliable, got better mileage, and was fun for her to drive was enough to convince her to chat with me about it.
When she came back to work the next day, I knew what she was going to get. After questioning her, there was no doubt in my mind where her money was going. She was visibly excited to have driven what she felt was a ‘sporty sedan’ that was also economical. And, she immediately could see herself taking it home. That… right there… THAT is what sells any car as others on this site will attest.
Why did I write this? Because, I feel like most of the comments to the article leave one thing out…perception. Her view was not like us car buffs. She looked for different traits than we look for. Even when sitting in and driving cars side by side, she experienced things differently. We tend to forget that prior vehicle history easily convinces people to buy brands that they wouldn’t normally think of. In her mind, Mitsubishi was a Japanese car brand that made sporty and relatively reliable cars. How could I say “no, don’t buy that” to her? In the day and age where most every car is reliable, isn’t happiness enough? Why buy a Mitsubishi? Because, it fits into your budget and you enjoy driving it regardless of the emblem on the grill… that’s what’s really important.