Mitsubishi ignores management shake-ups in comms strategy

CYPRESS, CA: Mitsubishi Motors North America is concentrating its media efforts on promoting new models and a new branding campaign rather than responding to press reports about executive departures and an allegedly inadequate advertising budget.

CYPRESS, CA: Mitsubishi Motors North America is concentrating its media efforts on promoting new models and a new branding campaign rather than responding to press reports about executive departures and an allegedly inadequate advertising budget.

?Our focus is on the positive news going forward, our philosophy is not to focus on the rearview mirror,? said Dotty Diemer, VP public relations with Mitsubishi Motors North America.

Ad and auto publications in recent weeks have written about the departures of Mitsubishi?s advertising director, its director of strategic planning, and its director of brand marketing, all since March.

Reports have attributed the ad director?s departure to his uneasiness about the size of the ad budget for the June US introduction of Mitsubishi?s new Eclipse model -- $25 million or about a fourth of what other automakers routinely spend.

Diemer said the company will not comment on ad spending or personnel matters.

?The coverage is what it is,? she said. ?Very much of what?s reported is not sourced so it makes it more difficult to respond.?

Rather than try to refute anonymous sources in news reports, Diemer has been concentrating on communicating company plans to its US dealers.

?Our key audiences are our dealers and our employees,? she said.

She?s also been doing media outreach for the new Eclipse, which was first unveiled at January?s Detroit auto show. Diemer is gearing up PR efforts to support a new Mitsubishi brand advertising campaign scheduled to begin June 11. ?Consumers don?t know a lot about our brand,? she said.

New branding messages will focus on the style, performance, and precise engineering of Mitsubishi cars, she said.

The company is working with the Detroit office of Stratacomm and has one Stratacomm staffer onsite at its California offices.

It had worked with Fleishman-Hillard but switched about 10 months ago to Stratacomm, which is owned by Fleishman-Hillard, to gain greater depth of auto experience from Stratacomm?s Detroit staff, Diemer said.

Mitsubishi has been in a slump in the US, with its sales down 39% in the first quarter of the year. It sold only 9,230 cars here in April.

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