The dealerships will get new signage and new light beech furniture as part of a pan-European manufacturer-driven programme. But Colt has taken the opportunity to update the entire showroom interior as well – for the first time since 1996.
The rebranding is funded to a large extent by incentives that dealers earned from a sales and parts incentive programme which ran at the end of last year.
“Almost everybody will have most of the costs covered,” says Mitsubishi sales director Lance Bradley. “If somebody wants to do something particularly spectacular it will cost them a bit. But dealer profitability is one of our cornerstones, which is why we put the incentives in place.”
Alan Harper, York Mitsubishi dealer principal and dealer council chairman, says Colt’s approach is the right one. “There’s no doubt that a freshening up is needed. You can’t afford to stand still and it is something we very much welcome,” he says.
“They have put a considerable amount of money in, and my understanding is that only a handful of dealers haven’t qualified for funding. While we haven’t got the exact costs yet, I don’t believe it is going to be onerous at all.”
Colt’s own showroom/training centre in Cirencester is currently being refurbished and should be complete within the next two to three weeks. “That will give us the chance to make sure we are happy with everything”, adds Bradley, “and to invite dealers in so they can see what the whole thing will look like before they embark on it themselves.”
Mitsubishi currently has 143 UK dealers and has short-term plans for 150. The company believes there might be room for a few more to meet an ambitious sales target of 50,000 by 2007 (2004 target: 35,000 units).