Plans Visits With Semifinalists the Week of Jan. 17

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DETROIT ( -- Mitsubishi Motors North America said it will narrow the list of ad agencies competing for its online, media planning, national and regional dealer creative accounts next week.

A Mitusbishi spokeswoman said the review panel will visit the semifinalists the week of Jan. 17 for a "chemistry" check.

No word from incumbent
She said the incumbent, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, has not yet said whether it intends to defend the account in the review.

Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., is the consultant for the review.

Meanwhile, Chuck Barber, chairman of Mitsubishi's national dealer council, said the marketer upped its ad spending in the final week of 2004 for spot TV in the brand's 29 top markets. The Utah dealer added that other dealers have informed him the effort helped generate showroom traffic and vehicle sales.

Dealers debate issue
He said there is a debate among dealers about whether they should ask the automaker to call off the review. But he said only three of the 10 members of the National Advisory Board are in that camp, so he doubts the process will be halted.

A Mitsubishi spokeswoman said the auto marketer had received letters from dealers both favoring and opposing the agency review.