What about the profitability of Mitsubishi dealers?
Mitsubishi dealers today, like all new car dealers, are making record financial profits. For us, the last few years have been fun. they are pretty robust. I think most of the networks are profitable.
How have Mitsubishi’s sales incentives changed during this time of declining inventories?
Like everyone else in the industry, we all struggled to keep it in stock, so the incentives dropped significantly. Why manufacturers encourage sales when there is nothing to buy But at the same time, staying close to what the market is doing has allowed Mitsubishi to really thrive over the past year and a half. I suspect that the incentives for this mode will remain until industry supply levels change.
What is Mitsubishi Motors telling dealers about taking more control over direct sales and consumer transactions?
All my conversations with Mitsubishi with dealer boards relate to Mitsubishi selling through the dealer channel, so I haven’t heard any conversations about Mitsubishi wanting to sell directly to consumers.
What do Mitsubishi dealers think about possible changes to the traditional franchise model?
I don’t know of any such conversations. From a dealer’s point of view, it will continue to be an important part for consumers to be able to contact the person they purchased the vehicle from and trust that they can maintain and service the vehicle.
Getting service for your vehicle is almost as important as having a quality product.
While manufacturers are responsible for producing quality products at competitive prices, dealer networks provide customers with a way to continuously interact with local trusted dealer advisors who can assist them through the ownership process. We believe that the current distribution system, where customers can leave vehicle service responsibility to their local dealers and leave vehicle maintenance to partners, is a more consumer-friendly approach and that distribution system works very well. I think it’s working for a long time.
What is missing from your product line?
Last year, you joked, we could have sold every car we had, and we sold every car we had, so what was missing was more cars. If we had more Mirage, if we had more Outlander Sport, if we had more Eclipse — if we had more product — we could have sold more cars last year. But the lack of vehicles is no one’s fault. The supply chain has been disrupted and I believe Mitsubishi has done everything it can to keep production going.
As a dealer, we are excited to see the Outlander Sport refreshed and hopefully come in a larger size than the Outlander. There are a lot of customers with 3rd row seats now, so I think dealers will be excited if there is a bigger SUV. Dealers are excited to learn about the potential future of all electric vehicles in the U.S. I think plug-in hybrids are a good middle ground for Mitsubishi to have as a strategy.U.S. sales performance over the past two years has been very strong, and we’re excited to see what else we can do with additional products and enhancements as we head into the next few years.
What is Mitsubishi doing to promote used car sales, including the Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Program?
Mitsubishi Approved Pre-Owned vehicles offer one of the longest warranties available in the Approved Manufacturer program. This allows dealers to reinstate his 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty that the first owner of a new Mitsubishi vehicle receives. Many manufacturers and competitors only offer 7-year, 100,000-mile powertrains, but Mitsubishi offers his 10-100 on top of his 5-year, 60,000-mile comprehensive warranty. I think it’s in the vehicle. A really good offer on the market.
Has Mitsubishi launched or proposed an online platform for used car sales?
Not at this time. Not that I know.
Do dealers support such platforms?
For us, White Bear Mitsubishi is the No. 1 used car seller, so it would be a better experience to have them sell through a dealer who has easy access to a used car that is as good as new and who knows how to use it. I think, for the sake of consumers too. I would welcome any efforts to increase sales of certified pre-owned vehicles.
What is MC looking for in dealers when it comes to digital retail?
Mitsubishi has a provider-preferred digital program that allows dealers to choose the digital retail tools they want to use. It offers dealers a lot of flexibility in how they market their brands digitally.
Does Mitsubishi have its own branded digital retail tools?
ClickShop is used by Mitsubishi to allow customers to calculate payments using incentive rates and residuals for financing and leasing options. For automakers, they give consumers a lot of power to research their choices before they enter the dealership.
Are there any changes to Mitsubishi’s facility image program?
No. Mitsubishi Motors announced a visual identity program several years ago. Many dealers in the country are applying to improve the image of their facilities.
Need to reduce or change program requirements for facility size or equipment?
I wouldn’t say Mitsubishi’s program is very taxing. Many manufacturers need dealers to build brand new buildings. Mitsubishi will provide guidance on how they want their facility to look, but most upgrades don’t require a dealer to build a brand new facility. I think Mitsubishi’s identity program is very reasonable.
What are Mitsubishi’s plans to boost leasing in 2023 after leasing volumes have fallen across the industry?
The two most-produced models, the Outlander and the Eclipse Cross, currently have a leasing program. As leasing becomes more popular with consumers, it’s entirely possible that in the next few years, with vehicle costs and interest rates only rising, leasing will again find favor as an affordable alternative. Given that we currently have a leasing program for our two best-selling vehicles, we hope to continue the program in the future.
How are rising interest rates affecting new or used car sales and financing at Mitsubishi dealerships?
Interest rates will continue to fluctuate and will certainly affect how vehicles are sold. Our cars are in a more affordable price range, so the difference in interest rates between today and a year ago has had some impact on payments, but we’re selling $80,000, $90,000, $100,000 cars. Not as dramatic as the case. Mitsubishi starts under his $20,000 and many are in his mid to high $20,000 range, so we still live in a very affordable environment. Things like interest rates and leasing programs will be key to buyer affordability going forward.