By on April 18, 2017

[Image: Mitsibishi Motor Sales of Canada]

Maybe it’s not the product, but the dealerships? It might not be the solution to all of the problems facing an increasingly less troubled Mitsubishi north of the border, but it can’t hurt.

Under a new five-year plan, the automaker plans to revamp and modernize all of its 90 Canadian dealers. Bright, glassy and inviting, the redesigned dealerships are worth the expense if it helps draw more buyers into a customer base that hasn’t grown much in years.

No dealer gets a pass from Mitsubishi’s Dealer Image Program. Across the brand’s four-tier dealer landscape, larger retailers could see entirely new buildings, while smaller ones will see upgrades in order to meet the new standard. Prominent signage, a drive-through service bay that’s visible from inside the dealer, and easy access to all departments are key parts of the program.

The point of this is to “enhance Mitsubishi Motors’ brand image, catch the attention of consumers, improve customer satisfaction and increase both sales and service opportunities for our Canadian dealerships,” said Tony Laframboise, president & CEO, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, in a statement.

While Mitsubishi has recorded year-over-year sales growth in the U.S. since 2012, its Canadian sales hit a plateau in 2013 after a slow ascent through the 2000s. Product plays the biggest role, but image counts for something. The first all-new dealer has already opened in Quebec — a jurisdiction that seems to love the low-cost Mirage.

Still, it will take more than a popular subcompact and dealer makeover to meaningfully boost sales in today’s market. As it figures out how to share platforms and components with its new Renault-Nissan overlords, the compact 2018 Eclipse Cross crossover is the first — and so far, only — all-new model bound for North America. Positioned in the same segment as the Outlander Sport (RVR in Canada), that crossover represents Mitsubishi’s best hopes for a sales bump.

A redesigned Outlander and downsized Outlander Sport will have to wait.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada]

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31 Comments on “Mitsubishi Turns to Sexier Dealerships to Squeeze More Sales from a Stagnant Market...”

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    “Under a new five-year plan…”

    Really? Mitsu will still be viable in North America in five years? Who knew?

    • 0 avatar

      @Michael Haz
      They have just sailed past GM and Ford here. They were always the company, that was trying to keep up

  • avatar

    Seriously? Dumping big money into stand-alone Mitsu dealerships?

  • avatar

    Unless Nissan/Mitsu is offering to foot the bill, I could see every US dealer telling them to take a hike before they’d invest that kind of money, at least, not without a coherent product plan showing it’d pay off.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah who pays for this? Seems like some seriously pricey lipstick here. I would guess any Mitsubishi dealer that is still around spends most of its time looking for lost change in between couch cushions. This reminds of the constant silliness I see in retail where brand new shopping plazas are built while just down the road entire shopping malls (containing the same stores basically) are closing. Build it and they will come is not really a valid business model.

    • 0 avatar

      Those Salesrooms are very similar to what we have now in Australia

      • 0 avatar

        Watched an Australian crime drama movie the other evening on Netflix or Amazon..

        One of the vehicles was a Mitsubishi wagon of some kind.

        The clear coat paint was literally flaking off, pretty much the same as Mitsubishis here.

  • avatar

    Pig, meet lipstick.

  • avatar

    “Five-year plan”? Who’s advising them? Raul Castro?

  • avatar

    This is sad…what dealerships exactly? The Bay Area had 7 Mitsubishi dealerships about 6-7 years ago. Only three are left standing and two only are stand alone. And they sell 5x the volume of used vs. new vehicles

  • avatar

    Sexier you say? First there were breastaurants, now there will be dealertits. Booberships?

  • avatar

    what is it with car makers thinking their dealerships matter….. the BEST service I ever had with my Trucks was at a small downtown dealer that started out servicing Carraiges in the 1800’s…. it was squeezed out in the 09 Bankruptcy and the Mega dealer group came in one town over. Service there is awful but there is gourmet coffee and muffins :/

    • 0 avatar

      1. They do matter, they’re a reflection of the company selling the cars, and dealership experience can make or break a consumer’s opinion.
      2. They’re stuck with dealerships thanks to protectioni…er…FAIR AND EQUITABLE FRANCHISE LAWS.
      3. Mitsubishi dealerships, in the opinion of consumers, don’t have any product anyway. But at least now they’ll be sexy while they don’t have product.

  • avatar

    Stick some rebranded Dacias into the showroom and sales will boom in Quebec and other poor parts of Canada.

  • avatar

    Shockingly, Las Vegas just added a SECOND Mitsubishi dealership.

    If you want to fix Mitsubishi dealerships, stop hiring salespeople who got fired from BHPH lots.

    • 0 avatar

      I would think most Mitsu buyers are chasing the deal rather than the vehicle. So maybe a BHPH resume is just what the store is wanting for their sharks?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I used to work for a dealer group that included a Mitsubishi dealership, in which I had an office. The building was sh*tty, and so were the cars. It seemed to me that the only reason the space was purchased was that it had a huge holding lot for processing cars, as well as a giant shop. This dealership group, which also had a large Kia dealership, made a mint selling late-model cars to credit-challenged people.

    And the Mitsubishi franchise itself…was probably a burden. A snazzier building would not have changed that.

  • avatar

    “Maybe it’s not the product, but the dealerships?”

    No, trust me, it’s the product.

  • avatar

    As a Mitsubishi owner, I can tell you the improvements can’t come fast enough. My dealership is a dump. They still have a Suzuki sign up and it’s been years since those things have been sold new. The buying experience was fairly dreadful and the finance department was sleazy. The car, however, a Mirage, has been a pleasant surprise. I would never advise paying full price for one or anything near it, but for what I paid, it’s been great, cheap wheels.

    • 0 avatar

      A dreadful buying experience and sleazy finance department is typical of all dealers… The reason my cars keep getting older. (haha)

      Anyway, in the mid-90s I took a 10-minute phone survey about what I drove, liked, and future buying. It was rather in-depth, and towards the end of the call I figured out that it was paid for by Mitsubishi. I was aware of Mitsubishi, however, I would have never bought one back then and I still wouldn’t. I couldn’t tell you where a dealer even is?

  • avatar

    75% of floor space for used cars.
    10% for both new Mitsubishis
    5% for the CPO Mitsubishi
    10% for employee/customer parking

    Also, an awning out back by recon for the salesmen to buy Xanex from detailers.

    Where’s my prize?

  • avatar

    I don’t even know where there is a Mitsubishi dealer.

  • avatar

    This is a 60 year old homeless woman with nothing to offer saying she’s going to make herself look sexy to pick up guys at the club.

    This is literally going to be dumping cash down the drain.

  • avatar

    What’s the point of a dealership built in 2020 if they’re selling cars that came out in 2006?

  • avatar

    Sadly, the brand will be defunct before the construction notes are paid off. Kind of like their buyers, Mitsu dealers will be underwater until the very end.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi still sells cars?

  • avatar

    Take a look around sometime, and you’ll notice a TON of Outlander Sports, and more than a few regular Outlanders. Mitsubishi somewhat accidentally (?) fell into a fairly well positioned CUV lineup right as the market has been clamoring for them. Neither one is at the top of their respective class (subcompact and compact CUV) in terms of features or function, but they are reliable and fairly well screwed together, and are fairly handsome to look at, and sell at very competitive pricing (and probably can finance just about anyone).

    No a cosmetic dealership refresh will not necessarily solve their woes, but improving the atmosphere from the current “den of BHPH thieves” would definitely be a welcome improvement.

  • avatar

    What’s weird is that a few Mitsu dealers were *added* to our region over the past year. Milwaukee gained one in addition to the two dealers that were already there, Madison didn’t have one for quite some time but they now have one again, and Chicago gained one in the northern suburbs.

    Compare this to the local Fiat franchise in Milwaukee having been punted around three different dealer groups since they returned to the US market.

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