Mitsubishi’s new ASX model marks a change in the brand’s long term strategy as the Japanese carmaker looks to split its focus between four wheel drive SUVs and more environmentally friendly crossover models.
The new model goes on sale in July and has the potential to open up a new market for UK Mitsubishi dealers.
Mitsubishi is gunning for a slice of the Nissan Qashqai market which is growing as a retail segment by 30% year-on-year and the ASX is expected to generate 6,000 extra sales a year.
This would help boost annual volumes to the targeted 30,000 units a year within the next three years and to help move dealer profitability from 1.2% to 2% return on sales.
Mitsubishi will continue to produce 4WD workhorses, but there will be a stronger onus on developing smaller cars with environmental technology.
Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motor UK’s managing director, told AM: “This is the most important launch we’ve had in 10 years.
"The ASX could really be the jewel in our crown and we believe this car could catch the market at the right time.”
Mitsubishi believes up to 80% of customers will be conquest sales and is investing in targeted online advertising to bring leads into the showroom.
Bradley said: “TV doesn’t have much impact anymore. There are hundreds of channels and everyone fast forwards through the adverts anyway.
“We’ve launched an online game to promote the model and we’ll still be doing national press advertising, but targeted campaigns through the internet are the way to go.”
Dealers are being encouraged to put on events outside of the showroom to get the ASX in front of the right customers.
Bradley wants to attract the urban motorist to showrooms, capitalising on D-segment and SUV customers that are downgrading to smaller models.
One other way Mitsubishi is getting the model infront of customers is by securing a solus fleet deal with Hertz UK for 500 ASZ models.
He said: “We wanted to get as many ASX models out there on the road as quickly as possible and this was the best way to do that.”