In last month’s review, my colleague Tim talked about Mitsubishi’s desire to see more drivers buying the Outlander before the curtain comes down on 2016, with the wintry weather perfect for putting 4x4s on their choice lists.
With any long-termer, AM seeks to garner the views of a brand’s dealers to find out, from a number of angles, the experience of selling the car – and how likely Mitsubishi is to fulfil its ambitions. The following is a summary of conversations with several dealers (all of them asked to be anonymous) on the car – and Mitsubishi from their points of view and how it is perceived by consumers.
There was consensus that desirability for the Outlander diesel comes from its seven seats , 4x4 capability, reasonable fuel consumption and good towing reviews in the “appropriate magazines”.
But of significant concern is the ability to compete with rival brands and win converts to Mitsubishi.
“The competition for the Outlander diesel varies according to who has the stronger finance offer,” one dealer said.
“Mitsubishi is not yet a ‘must-have’ brand with consumers – except for the customers who grew up with the brand, but they are dying out. Instead, Jeep is mentioned often by customers as they have 0% on PCP on offer currently. But generally the competition is the Nissan Qashqai and X Trail, the Volvo XC60, BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport.”
Interestingly, another dealer said, the ‘finance offer-only’ type of customers are happy to consider the brand, but are “pretty agnostic” about its desirability.
As far as support for sales is concerned, dealers said they are working with “dramatically reduced margins”, with the margin saved being used to fund offers.
“Our new 0% finance, zero-deposit offer on HP has not had the hoped-for sales boost yet. It’s a pity because it’s the best offer we have ever been able to promote. Mitsubishi should’ve waited for Q1 to launch as Q4 is the graveyard quarter for most brands.”
On the plus side, Mitsubishi is trying to raise its profile; it should be on most people’s shopping lists, “but we have to be patient”, one dealer said.