Mitsubishi Motors North America has launched a review of creative duties now at Traffic in El Segundo, Calif., the client has confirmed.
Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., is managing the process. SRI handled Mitsubishi's last creative review in 2008, which resulted in the appointment of Traffic.
The incumbent, which declined to comment, is not defending.
Cypress, Calif.-based Mitsubishi hopes to select a new agency by mid-March. The automaker said in a statement that going forward it will "place a renewed emphasis on marketing, and with the momentum generated by exciting product innovations and evolving green technologies, it is imperative that MMNA align itself with the right strategic partner."
Mitsubishi added that it is "revising its product line-up globally in keeping with the brand's direction to better provide transportation aimed at sustainability targets."
Major media spending on the brand has declined significantly in recent years. In the first 11 months of 2009, such spending totaled less than $20 million, down from more than $80 million in 2008 and about $175 million in 2007, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.
Not in play are media planning and buying duties and direct marketing/customer relationship management chores. Those duties remain at Omnicom's PHD and Meredith Integrated Marketing, respectively.
The other finalists in the last review were Omnicom Group's DDB in Venice, Calif., and independents Ignited in El Segundo, Calif., and WongDoody in Seattle and Culver City, Calif.
Before Traffic, Mitsubishi's lead creative agency was the Los Angeles office of Omnicom's BBDO.