Mitsubishi, which currently has 401 dealerships, plans to set up 26 dealerships more. The move is in line with the brand's launching of the "i powered by MiEV" electric vehicle in the U.S. late in 2011. The company is working to rebuild its shrinking U.S. retail network. Three of the new stores will be in Texas and seven will be in California. The rest will be spread throughout 11 other states, mostly in the far West or in the East. Mitsubishi had 637 stores in 2002, when it set a U.S. sales record of 345,111 vehicles. The brand plans to fill points in cities where stores have closed in recent years, leaving Mitsubishi owners without a local dealership for service, according to spokesman Maurice Durand.
He adds that 56 Mitsubishi dealers closed in 2009 and another 32 closed in 2010. He further adds that the brand also awarded 28 new franchises in 2009 and is set to add more in 2010. Mitsubishi, along with the "i powered by MiEV," is set to launch other future product plans before yearend as part of a new global business plan.
The announcement is expected to include plans for its assembly plant in Normal, Ill., which now builds the slow-selling Mitsubishi Gallant, Eclipse and Endeavor. Mitsubishi sales dropped from 128,993 in 2007 to 53,986 in 2009. Through October 2010, sales were down 0.4 percent in a market that is up 11 percent. [via autonews - sub. required]