Fleet sales at 4,589 units in 2001 fell far short of an original target of 6,692 vehicles but the objective for 2002 is only 4,000 cars, dealers were told by Mitsubishi managing director Jim Tyrrell at the importer's annual sales conference.
In contrast, 2001's retail target of 15,000 was exceeded by 16% and for 2002 the company has set itself a goal of 20,000 vehicles.
Mitsubishi's fleet strategy was unveiled by sales director Lance Bradley, who admitted that 2001 had been a year of 'stock clearance'.
In another new move, Mitsubishi is to persuade dealers to become more involved in the fleet business by paying them a £500 fee for handling fleet sales negotiated by the importer, from a vehicle's point of entry at Portbury to final delivery to the customer. The company stressed that the scheme did not preclude dealers from handling sub-25 fleet sales in their own way.
'We see this initiative as a way of allowing dealers to become involved with larger fleets and to establish a relationship with individual customers on a local level,' said Bradley.
'In 2002 we will be focusing on more profitable fleet business, as we move away from buy-back schemes. We have come up with four target areas,' he said.
'Contract hire and leasing, where we have identified around 15 key players, local authorities whose 'buy green' policies will mean they find our GDI engine technology attractive, firms operating light commercial vehicles, and specialist vehicles used by the police and organisations such as the Ministry of Defence.
'Because of their high profile with other road users, my ambition is to have every police force in the country operating Shoguns.'