We just received a story from one of our manufacturer Spies that we think all you Mitsubishi EVO fans (like us) will find VERY INTERESTING!
Sometimes in this business, you scratch your head in wonderment.
If you’ve been following Mitsubishi in the United States over the last decade, it’s been a pretty sad state of affairs. Don’t get me wrong, the EVO is an icon and cult leader, but with the way the boys at Mitsubishi apparently treat their dealers in the US, we’re guessing there won’t be many dealers left here to sell you one.
Last week, we came across a lawsuit filed against Mitsubishi Motors in Orange County by the owners of Huntington Beach Mitsubishi. According to the lawsuit, Mitsubishi Motors owned the land that the dealership was sitting on but decided to sell the land (literally right underneath them) to a real estate developer. There’s only one small problem, the developer doesn’t want to own a dealership. They would rather shut down the dealership when the lease is over and redevelop the property. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Bobby Samini at Samini Scheinberg. The lawsuit makes other claims as well about the way Mitsubishi treats its dealers. But enough of the boring legal stuff.
Here’s what we don’t understand. Mitsubishi sales were up 70% in the month of March according to the Orange County Business Journal. We are guessing this is due in large part to the work and efforts of dealers like Huntington Beach. It’s no secret that Mitsubishi has been struggling in the US for sometime. Its survival until now has probably been more because of the survival instinct of the dealers and despite the lack of popular vehicles.
So here we are in 2014. Mitsubishi finally has some new faces for the showroom including the new Outlander and the Mirage. You’d think they be busy getting the dealer network ready for the mad rush, right? You wouldn’t think that they’d want to pull the rug (or the land) right from under their feet. We know, sometimes the big boys have to make to business decisions. But if you’re trying to make a come back, how do you shut down your dealer in Surf City USA?
Did we mention that Mitsubishi recently announced that it didn’t have a replacement slated for the current EVO? When we first read it, we didn’t believe it. But after reading the Huntington Beach story, we get it now. They won’t have any dealers left in US if they keep going down this path. It is a sad story for Mitsubishi, its dealers and the EVO. But here’s some good news, Mitsubishi just bought the Ford plant in the Philippines (apparently that market is a growing market). So once Mitsubishi is done closing up it’s dealers in the US, you can take a quick trip to Manila and bring back a grey market EVO.
Good luck Mitsubishi. You’ve certainly come up with a new way to approach things. The only advice we’d give here is that if you’re planning on following Suzuki’s footsteps out the door, have the decency to rip the band aid off quickly instead of killing the dealers one by one. And if we’ve got the strategy wrong and Mitsubishi is really planning on sticking around, then we suggest you not close down successful dealerships which happen to be in high profile places like Southern California.
Best to all the Spies,