Just a quick update to note that the other day I received letter from Jill Lajdziak, President of Smart USA, acknowledging my blog entry above.
I mention this not just because I'm flattered (I am) and appreciate the gift she included (thanks!) but because it reinforces the core message of my article - Smart listens to what it's owners have to say and is a stronger brand for it.
More to the point, this listening takes place not as some outsourced function that reports no higher than middle management, but clearly goes all the way up the chain of command.
Now, I have met some extraordinarily passionate and enthusiastic folks at Smart, including Doug Gould, Director of Northwest Operations, who came out for a driving event I organized for the San Francisco regional owners club, as well as the dealer principals at Smart Center San Francisco, Smart Center San Jose, and Smart Center Sacramento, each of who helped organize customer caravans to attend our technical workshop and autocross.
The fact that these folks take the time to get to know, and interact with, their customers as more than mere sales prospects speaks volumes about Smart's viability as a nascent U.S. brand.
I would like to publicly thank Jill, and to the rest of team Smart. I look forward to our paths crossing again soon.