Mitsubishi Motors North America Celebrates 25th Anniversary Dealers
Pioneering Dealers From Across the U.S. Recognized for Their Loyalty and Success Representing the Mitsubishi Motors Brand
CYPRESS, Calif., Oct. 15 -- Celebrating 25 years of selling cars and trucks in North America, Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) today recognizes ten dealers from across the United States who have owned and operated Mitsubishi franchises since 1982. From Florida to Washington, each 25-year dealer will be honored at special regional events during the month of October. Mitsubishi President and CEO, Hiroshi Harunari will present each dealership owner with a special award commemorating their success and long franchise history with the company. The celebration kicked off last Friday when Mr. Harunari visited Auburn Valley Mitsubishi in Washington State, the first dealership in the U.S. to sell a Mitsubishi-badged vehicle.
"We honor the commitment and loyalty to the Mitsubishi brand over the past 25 years of these pioneers in the Mitsubishi Motors family," said Harunari. "Starting with the sale of the first Mighty Max, Cordia and Tredia models to today's Eclipse, Galant, Lancer, Endeavor, Outlander and Raider sales, the dedication of our dealers is what drives our continued success."
In response to a recent questionnaire, many of the dealers shared special memories from their history with Mitsubishi Motors. Following are highlights and comments from all ten of Mitsubishi Motors 25th anniversary dealers.
Mitsubishi Motors North American 25-Year Dealers: William Lehman Mitsubishi, North Miami, Florida Anniversary date: 8/26/1982 William Lehman remembered delivering his first Mitsubishi vehicle to a college student. There was only one problem; the student did not know how to drive a stick shift. The dealer taught the young woman how to drive a manual transmission and 25 years later she is still a loyal customer. Gillman Mitsubishi South, Houston, Texas -- First in Texas Anniversary date: 8/26/1982 Ramsay Gillman from Houston noted how times had changed over the years. When Gillman Mitsubishi first opened the models for sale were the Tredia, Cordia and Starion, 2WD and 4WD Mighty Max trucks. In 1983 his dealership sold an average of 70 units a month and they hand-wrote their financial statements. Rockville Mitsubishi, Rockville, Maryland Anniversary date: 8/27/1982 Buzzy Cohn from Rockville noted his proudest moment as a Mitsubishi dealer was when he won the prestigious President's Award, which was presented to him in Japan. Cohn also said his favorite model of all time was the 2008 Lancer and one of his most memorable moments was the speeding ticket he received the first time he drove a Mitsubishi. Auburn Valley Mitsubishi, Auburn, Washington Anniversary date: 8/27/1982 Tito Roempke from Auburn noted his most memorable sales experience, when 20 people showed up and competed for the first Eclipse to be sold. Tito remarked he had never had that experience in his career. The first dealer in the U.S. to sell a Mitsubishi-badged vehicle -- a Mighty Max truck -- Roempke said after 25 years he is still proud to be a Mitsubishi dealer. Wantagh Mitsubishi, Wantagh, New York Anniversary date: 8/27/1982 Kevin Bast from Wantagh said one of his proudest moments as a Mitsubishi dealer was becoming one of the first 10 Mitsubishi dealers activated in the U.S. Bast also said his best selling vehicle of all time was the Galant and his favorite Mitsubishi model was the 3000GT and he still drives a 1999 model today. Bill Seidle's Mitsubishi, Miami, Florida Anniversary date: 9/9/1982 Bill Seidle noted that his most unusual sales experience was always the first step, instructing the customer as to how to properly pronounce Mitsubishi. Seidle also said his best selling vehicle of all time was the Montero Sport and his personal favorite Mitsubishi model was the 3000GT VR4 Hard-top convertible. Kirkwood Mitsubishi, Kirkwood, Missouri Anniversary date: 9/15/1982 Chris Auffenberg from Kirkwood said his proudest moments as a Mitsubishi dealer include all the awards, trips and visits from Mitsubishi personnel over the years. Auffenberg also added that his favorite model of all time was the 3000 GT and the dealerships bestselling vehicle was the Eclipse. Global Mitsubishi, North Plainfield, New Jersey Anniversary date: 9/20/1982 William Feinstein from North Plainfield said one of his proudest moments as a Mitsubishi Dealer was his first year in business. That year, Global was the first franchise to sell 2,000 vehicles. Feinstein also noted that his favorite vehicle of all time was the 2008 Lancer GTS and the Cordia L as a close second. Stohlman Mitsubishi, Vienna, Virginia Anniversary date: 10/22/1982 Cathy Stohlman remembered one unusual sales experience when a member of the military called over the phone to order a Lancer Evolution. Stohlman's dealership made plans to meet his wife at the Port of Baltimore to have the vehicle shipped to Germany but they found out the vehicle had too much gas in the tank, so they drove around with the wife for an hour to burn off the extra gas. The dealership got a nice call from the serviceman who said his new Lancer Evolution was faster than his commanding officer. Crown Mitsubishi, Saint Petersburg, Florida Anniversary date: 12/17/1982 Dwayne Hawkins reminisced about his dealerships most unusual sales experience, when they sold a 2004 Endeavor to a customer and the delivery day was timed with Hurricane Charlie hit the Florida coast. His Sales Manager and Finance Manager drove to the dealership during the storm and opened up the store so the customer could take delivery that day.
With more than 500 dealers in North America, Mitsubishi Motors North America dealers have sold more than 1.8 million US-assembled vehicles and 4.3 million vehicles in total during the past twenty-five years. In 2008, Mitsubishi Motors dealer lots will soon be stocked with the next generation of Driven to Thrill vehicles including the much-anticipated Lancer Evolution model.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all manufacturing, finance, sales, marketing, research and development operations for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells coupes, convertibles, sedans, sport utility vehicles, and light trucks through a network of approximately 500 dealers.