Mitsubishi’s remarkable growth in 2021 attributed to customer-focused approach

  • Strong product offering complemented by great customer service
  • Highly trained and skilled staff and the rapid expansion of the dealer footprint contribute towards creating lifetime customer loyalty
  • Impressive sales growth attributed to targeted product approach

JOHANNESBURG – In retrospect, 2021 will be remembered as a year of recovery and consolidation for the local automotive industry, and one in which Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) continued to perform well in the sales stakes. The brand has shown remarkable growth over the last two years as it continues to listen to its customers; providing not only high-quality products, but also exceptional customer service.

After 12 months of trading, MMSA has experienced noticeable growth in sales performance. Total sales for the brand in 2021 were a significant 47,5% higher than the corresponding period in 2019, and a staggering 71,5% improvement over 2020. This also meant that MMSA bucked the trend by increasing its overall market share

This impressive showing can largely be attributed to the introduction of the all-new Xpander in June, followed by the launch of the new Eclipse Cross a month thereafter.

Says Nic Campbell, General Manager at MMSA: “With the introduction of the Xpander, Mitsubishi is now competing in a completely different price range and segment than before. As such, our sales volumes have been positively impacted. It also speaks to MMSA’s customer-first focus of bringing out the right product for the market, at the right time, with a competitive value proposition.”

The Eclipse Cross has also cemented its place as one of the pillar models for Mitsubishi and has contributed immensely towards the growth of the brand over the past six months.

In recent months MMSA has expanded its footprint in South Africa with the opening of six new dealerships. This brings the tally to 48 sales dealers and 53 aftersales dealers nationally.

“The opening of these new facilities is a continuation of MMSA’s approach to the strategic placement of dealerships in order to capitalise on the popularity of the Mitsubishi brand. It goes hand in hand with our targeted new model strategy and aims to continue bringing new customers into the Mitsubishi fold,” comments Steven Terblans, General Manager: Aftersales. “A brand is only as strong as its dealer network and Mitsubishi is fortunate enough to currently find itself on a very firm footing indeed.”

Proof of the commitment of MMSA’s dealer network is reflected in the results of the most recent National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) Dealer Satisfaction Index Survey (DSI). It provides the dealer body with a platform to provide manufacturers and importers with feedback and is seen by dealer councils and manufacturers as an effective management tool to address areas of concern and improve service delivery throughout the entire value chain.

Not only did MMSA achieve Gold status, but it was also recognised as the most improved overall brand in 2021 (+10.6%).

“These results not only serve to validate our concerted efforts to set industry-leading aftersales benchmarks to which our dealers have to adhere, but it also proves that we are consistently getting better at it,” Terblans says.

“Mitsubishi’s customer service index results have improved from 91,5% in 2017 to 95,42% at the end of 2021, which is well above the target of 93,5% we had set for ourselves. This phenomenal performance can largely be attributed to the introduction in 2019 of our ‘Fix Right First Time’ strategy, which has become the most important factor in our overall service experience.”

To achieve this, strong focus was placed on technical training of Mitsubishi’s service and maintenance technicians and improving skills levels at dealer level. The efforts paid off when, at the end of 2019, one of MMSA’s technical trainers became the first Mitsubishi Top 10 Globally Certified Training Instructor in South Africa.

MMSA has also introduced an E-Learning training system, as well as a live Local Tech Line Platform, whereby technical experts from HQ can assist with vehicle diagnostics. This includes a technical tip-sharing database of information gathered and shared globally.

“We want to ensure that the customer experience is aligned with the expectations of our loyal customer base. Expectation change and evolve and so do we, and for this reason we are continuously improving and embrace change,” Terblans continues. “Our aim is to create lifetime customer loyalty and the only way to boost our retention rate is to provide excellent service. In fact, MMSA is so committed to its customers that we urge them to contact us at [email protected] with any complaints, compliments or feedback in this regard.”

Also worth mentioning is the fact that, earlier this year, MMSA was recognised as a top regional performer by Mitsubishi Motors Middle East & Africa (MMMEA). In addition, a local employee was rewarded for being one of the leading service advisors in the region. These accolades followed MMSA’s participation in the first-ever MMMEA Wave CSI Survey, which was conducted during the last quarter of 2020.

“MMSA has a solid reputation for being able to identify demands and shaping our new vehicle strategy accordingly. Continued customer interest in our diverse range proves that we are getting the mix right in terms of our model derivatives and our target markets. Complemented by an unrelenting focus on top-notch customer service, MMSA’s strong finish to 2021 has laid a solid foundation on which to build in the next 12 months.

“Hold on to your hat, because 2022 will be another exciting year for MMSA as we expand or upgrade most of our existing model ranges. The biggest news, however, will be the introduction of the all-new Outlander in the second half of 2022,” concludes Jeffrey Allison, General Manager: Marketing.

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