Mitsubishi Narrows List

LOS ANGELES-Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America has narrowed the list of contenders for its $65-80 million national dealer business to four agencies, according to Mike Agate of Select Resources International, the consultancy running the review.
The four semi-finalists are: Grey Advertising’s Los Angeles office, which is pitching the business with Zimmerman & Partners Advertising in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Foote, Cone & Belding and Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ, both in San Francisco; and the Los Angeles and New York offices of Deutsch, according to Los Angeles-based Agate.
Both Grey and Zimmerman have handled dealer association business nationwide for Cypress, Calif.-based Mitsubishi, and they decided to pitch the consolidated business together, according to sources. Grey has signed a letter of intent to acquire Zimmerman and wants to wrap the deal up quickly, sources said. The contract is expected to be finalized by the end of the month. Both agencies declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Agate said a client review committee will meet with the agencies at the end of this month. “Chemistry checks will be conducted and assessments made of the [agencies’] potential fit with [the client’s] needs and expectations,” he said.
Finalists will be named, with a decision expected in November.
Grey subsidiary G2 Advertising in Huntington Beach, Calif., handles Mitsubishi’s estimated $100 million factory advertising account. Some of Citron’s principals worked on General Motors’ Saturn account while at Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco. FCB recently completed work for Mazda but resigned the account when parent company True North Communications bought Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, which handles Chrysler. Mitsubishi does not consider Chrysler to be a conflict, sources said. -with Hank Kim, Joan Voight and Jim Osterman