MMC plans integration of domestic sales network

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Friday it will integrate its two domestic auto sales channels as part of efforts to increase profitability.

The merging of the Galant and Car Plaza sales networks, which cover 1,050 outlets, starts in January. The new Mitsubishi Motors Network is to be established in April 2004.

“Reorganization of the sales network in the domestic market is a must,” said Mitsubishi President Rolf Eclrodt. “It’s a tremendous restructuring we are facing now.”

During the integration, the carmaker will relocate or refurbish some sales outlets and set high dealer standards, including better customer service, improvements of showroom staff skills and standardization of facilities.

Those dealers that cannot satisfy the new standards will not get a contract with Mitsubishi, said Eiji Iwakuni, Mitsubishi’s executive corporate general manager of domestic sales and marketing.

The carmaker will help the dealers clear the hurdle by providing a support program that includes financial assistance and expertise for computer system development and staff training and recruitment.

Mitsubishi’s sales in Japan have been sluggish since a scandal over concealment of recall data hit the firm in 2000. For the 2001 business year, MMC’s domestic passenger vehicle sales fell 9.8 percent from the previous year.

Iwakuni said Mitsubishi expects to reverse the trend by marketing new models, including the remodeled Colt compact, in the near future.