To the minute, Jesse A. Hardin Jr. remembers when he started working at Jeremy Franklin Mitsubishi.
“I started November 13, 2002, at 8:30 a.m.,” he said. “It was Suzuki then.”
Hardin, a sales consultant for the manager, admits he knew nothing about Mitsubishi vehicles during those days.
Everything changed in February, 2014, when the dealership at 6300 East 87th Street in Kansas City became a Mitsubishi dealership. Hardin and his co-workers immersed themselves in all the Mitsubishi products.
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“When they (the Mitsubishis) arrived and were on the showroom floor every day, I walked around them,” Hardin said. “I had to take tests and learn, and I swear after 30 days, I was in love with them. It was unbelievable.”
One of those vehicles is the Mitsubishi Outlander, a crossover known for its safety. Saving lives is definitely making a difference.
Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. (MMNA) put the safety of the Outlander to a test on Feb. 1 during the Super Bowl in its #ProtectThePie social media campaign.
With more than two feet of snow on the ground from a series of winter storms in Boston, MMNA wanted to prove that the Outlander could still navigate the icy roads without incident. Insurance company studies have found that there are more pizza-related car accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year, according to Mitsubishi. Thus the name #ProtectThePie.
MMNA teamed up with a local Boston pizzeria, DaCoopas Pizza & Subs, equipping their delivery driver with a 2015 Outlander GT, one of the safest CUVs on the road.
Social media drove the #ProtectThePie campaign and featured live tweeting and social posts throughout the big game. A video crew also followed the delivery driver, John Francis, as he delivered pizzas and stayed safe in the Outlander. The campaign culminated with a short YouTube film that showcased Francis’ efforts on the busiest pizza delivery day of the year, as well as the safety features of the 2015 Outlander GT.
“Protecting the things that you love is very important to Mitsubishi Motors,” said William Gelner, Chief Creative Officer at Mitsubishi’s ad agency in a press release. “Though #ProtectThePie is a light-hearted nod to that message, it still drives home the larger central message of safety.”
Hardin and Deon Willis, a floor manager at Jeremy Franklin Mitsubishi, are not surprised by any safety tests the Outlander passes.
They mention driver knee airbags and a forward collision mitigation system, which is a radar-based system that in certain circumstances helps determine if a frontal collision is imminent, warns the driver with audible and visual signals and automatically applies emergency braking to reduce the severity of the collision.
“This vehicle helps prevents accidents with the forward collision mitigation,” Hardin said. “You see a lot of those features in higher-end vehicles.”
The Outlander has been recognized by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) as a “Top Safety Pick+” – the highest safety award designation offered by the organization.
“Depending on where you are and the road conditions, it helps prevent oversteer and understeer in the vehicle,” Willis said. “It is phenomenal. I bought one for my wife.”
The Outlander comes in four models, and its price ranges from the low $20,000 to the upper $30,000.
“Mitsubishi has a price point that fits anyone’s budget,” Willis said. “They have a product that fits anyone’s lifestyle. Whether you are adventurous or the average commuter, Mitsubishi has something for you.”
The Outlander has third-row seating that works perfectly for a family of five, Willis said.
“It is very roomy, very capable,” Willis said. “Even with gas prices where they are now, people find it as a great value because it does have a strong four-cylinder engine with good horsepower and road feel to it.”
For Jeremy Franklin Mitsubishi, the Outlander is a very important vehicle for them. Why?
“Because folks want it,” Hardin said. “It has been very popular. It is just a great vehicle. They have spared no expense in making this vehicle outstanding in its competition field.”
If you have a story you would like to see in Making a Difference, email David Boyce at Drive@ksctar.com