Mitsubishi enters Web with view to online sales

Mitsubishi has set up a New Zealand Web site claiming to be the first car maker to do so.

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand is entering the Internet marketing arena with a site that includes product dealer and finance information.

"I think first of all it will be general interest about the company," says Mitsubishi corporate general manager Rob Greenfield. "But internationally there is clearly a move towards the purchase of vehicles through the Net. We expect dealers will come on board as well.

"We don't envisage Net selling will be a significant portion of the market in the next year or so, but we certainly see a trend towards it and we want to be there as quickly as we can. It's about establishing our presence from a corporate PR point of view."

Greenfield disputes the view that the Internet is not well suited to the sale of big-ticket items, saying the success of used car sites is a good example, as is the use of Japanese dealer sites by New Zealand vehicle importers to make purchases.

"Clearly there is a percentage market. The other thing is the Net is not just a shop; it's a magazine as well. You don't buy your car from a magazine, but you get your information from there."

Greenfield also feels corporate sales are possible over the Web.

"Corporates don't tend to go to showrooms anyway. They use the traditional means of communications which up until now have been telephones and faxes. Again, as a point of contact, I can see them being pretty interested in using the Net."

Greenfield says all the major manufacturers overseas have a Net presence, but Mitsubishi New Zealand is the first to set up a site locally. He understands Ford will be following suit shortly.

A Ford spokesman confirms that plans are in train for a Web presence, but no startup date is available.

Mitsubishi's site, when live, will be found at http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.nz.

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