Update from Dr. Annette Winkler on the 453 - Smart Car Forums
User Tag List

 18Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
Bohemian Moderator 451gas
SCOA Club
 
jwight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dayton, OH USA
Posts: 28,128
Thanks: 7,373
Thanked 5,811 Times in 3,523 Posts
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Garage
Update from Dr. Annette Winkler on the 453

Quote:
By Bengt Halvorson
We caught up with Winkler this past week at the Detroit Auto Show for five quick questions on all that and more:

When can we expect the new Fortwo in the U.S., and what’s the reason for its delay here versus international markets? Did safety or compliance have anything to do with it?

We will present it [the 2016 Smart Fortwo] at the New York Auto Show, and later in the summer it will come to dealerships. The reason why we are later here than Europe is quite simple: the double-clutch transmission. The U.S. is one of the markets where we decided to have a double clutch because of our customers. There were complaints about the transmission, and so we thought we have to come directly to the launch with it. This will come to Europe in April, around the NY Auto Show, and at present there are some months yet needed for testing.

Safety had nothing to do with it. I think the safety is already today at a very high level, with the tridion. We started with the tridion, but with even more high-strength steel. There are a lot of systems now—a cycling assistant, and a front collision, a lane departure—so the safety level is even higher.

Looking ahead to the next several years, what are your sales goals for Smart? Or what would success look like?

We don’t report predictions in numbers, but we are expecting considerable growth specifically in certain U.S. cities where we know that Smart fits perfectly. It’s not only rational—like density and parking spaces—but it’s also the culture, that you have this open-minded culture. And those cities, like San Francisco or Portland—we have them in China, we have them in Europe—we have 80 percent of our U.S. sales in only four cities. And focusing on these four cities, we will accelerate.

In the U.S., that’s Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego. Everyone understands why, directly, without saying more. And if I were to say for Europe: Barcelona, Munich, Vienna, Rome, Milano, Paris. Same thing; all these are cities with high traffic density and this ‘cultural’ approach.

Across all these cities, we see more saying, “I don’t need a big car to show them that I’m different; I want to show it with a smaller car.” All this fits together.

The Electric Drive has been making up about one quarter of all Smart sales in the U.S.—and a significantly greater proportion in some markets. With the debut of a new gasoline Fortwo that’s more appealing to Americans than before, do you expect the Electric Drive to maintain its share and remain as popular?

A new generation version [of the Electric Drive] will come in 2016, so in 2015 it’s very hard to predict what will happen. We will have the new car, but we will also still have the current generation with the Electric Drive this year. I think that Electric Drive is perfect for our cities here, perfect for urban mobility, where people go shorter distances. The acceleration is great; it’s very smooth.

Also in the States, there’s this environmental...feeling, that we need to contribute to a better environment, to a better nature. I receive letters from young people saying, “Thank you for offering that car, I feel better when I drive it.” And I like that very much.

This year we will build both generations in parallel, and it’s not just for the Electric Drive. We are not having the new generation yet for the U.S., or for China. In the factory, that’s amazing. On one line you see the current car, the new generation, and the Electric Drive. We are very proud of that.

The price of fuel has fallen dramatically in the past six months. Does that at all influence how you position the Fortwo in the U.S.?

We felt in the past a direct impact on sales results. But last year was the very best year for Smart in the U.S., despite this. So there is something changing. We invested a lot in the brand... But there are more people understanding the concept, too.

What’s the status of the Forfour for the U.S., and will you be offering the next-generation Electric Drive in multiple body styles?

We will bring both an electric Fortwo and Forfour to Europe. In the U.S., we’ll bring the electric Fortwo. And then let’s see.

For the Forfour, we are investigating. That micro segment in the U.S. is rather small. Our job is to have profitable business cases. For the Forfour we’d need additional investment. We would like to if the segment evolves in a positive way...we could imagine bringing it.


Five Questions: Smart CEO On U.S. Details, Fortwo Electric Drive
jwight is online now  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to jwight For This Useful Post:
chieftmc (01-22-2015), fredp (01-22-2015), HGB (02-17-2015), MB DNA (01-22-2015), NCC1701 (01-22-2015), Pee-wee Germa (01-22-2015), stevenvillatoro (01-22-2015)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
Bohemian Moderator 451gas
SCOA Club
 
jwight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dayton, OH USA
Posts: 28,128
Thanks: 7,373
Thanked 5,811 Times in 3,523 Posts
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Garage
From her "later in the summer" comment it appears we won't have to wait until November for the 453s. Wallace asked on smartusainsider.com when they would start taking orders and got the usual "don't have that info yet" response.
jwight is online now  
post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 08:23 AM
SCOA Club
 
MB DNA's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: smartin' The Carolina's...
Posts: 7,559
Thanks: 1,470
Thanked 2,424 Times in 1,440 Posts
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1244 Post(s)
" . . . we have 80 percent of our U.S. sales in only four cities, that’s Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego."

Or, to paint a different picture that explains dealer (hesitancy towards) expansion - the rest of the U.S. sales (48 states) account for only 20 percent . . .

That glass appears half empty?
MB DNA is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
Bohemian Moderator 451gas
SCOA Club
 
jwight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dayton, OH USA
Posts: 28,128
Thanks: 7,373
Thanked 5,811 Times in 3,523 Posts
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Garage
I'm surprised Los Angeles wasn't on that list, as they seem to sell a lot of smarts there.
MB DNA likes this.
jwight is online now  
post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 08:41 AM
SCOA Club
 
wrumbarger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Northern Virginia (Near DC)
Posts: 3,389
Thanks: 349
Thanked 855 Times in 525 Posts
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 244 Post(s)
I plan on placing the first order for a 453 (as soon as the order bank opens).

Once, I do that, I will post on here to let everyone else know so they can also place orders.
chieftmc likes this.
wrumbarger is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to wrumbarger For This Useful Post:
chieftmc (01-22-2015)
post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
Bohemian Moderator 451gas
SCOA Club
 
jwight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dayton, OH USA
Posts: 28,128
Thanks: 7,373
Thanked 5,811 Times in 3,523 Posts
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Garage
Ha! We'll see about that...
jwight is online now  
post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 09:35 AM
Mod ♥ 450/451/453 + Motos
 
Miss Mercedes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: IL-WI Border
Posts: 17,250
Thanks: 5,607
Thanked 2,350 Times in 1,648 Posts
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Garage
Quote:
That micro segment in the U.S. is rather small. Our job is to have profitable business cases. For the Forfour we’d need additional investment. We would like to if the segment evolves in a positive way...we could imagine bringing it.
I think this statement is rather ignorant. The small cat segment has been steadily growing and they're already late to the party.

Evidence?

Pretty much every well received vehicle (i.e. not cats like the Mitsubishi Mirage) that's not dying off soon or was just released did sell in significantly higher numbers than the fortwo last year. Many of which actually had sizable growth when compared Year over Year.

I mean come on: 59k Honda Fits, 39k Chevy Sparks...even Nissan somehow moved 38k of the polarizing Juke!

Miss Mercedes is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Miss Mercedes For This Useful Post:
Pee-wee Germa (01-22-2015)
post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
Bohemian Moderator 451gas
SCOA Club
 
jwight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dayton, OH USA
Posts: 28,128
Thanks: 7,373
Thanked 5,811 Times in 3,523 Posts
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Garage
She's addressing two things - the forfour in general and the forfour ED. And the true micro car segment is rather small - in my mind only two cars on that list qualify, the Fiat 500 and the smart fortwo (the iQ is history.) Not a huge market, and adding the forfour, electric or gas, has to make business sense to Mercedes.
jwight is online now  
post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 09:48 AM
 
stevenvillatoro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,476
Thanks: 261
Thanked 486 Times in 356 Posts
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1208 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrumbarger View Post
I plan on placing the first order for a 453 (as soon as the order bank opens).

Once, I do that, I will post on here to let everyone else know so they can also place orders.

I'm in...

I placed my order in 2007 within the first minute of the first day of order availability. Mine was the first smart delivered in San Diego. Hoping that history will repeat itself.

Proud to be a fanboy!!
chieftmc likes this.
stevenvillatoro is offline  
post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 09:51 AM
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3,266
Thanks: 2,470
Thanked 601 Times in 409 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Cool

OK so that is code speak for her banking on the 453 (including the rykä interior) appealing to people living in San Francisco...and San Jose, San Diego, and Portland. Someone needs to clue her in on her parent company not moving to the left coast but to a small unimportant city called Atlanta.

Last year "was the very best year" for smart despite falling gas prices?
That's not surprising. Coincidentally; last year was also the year the new 453 (including the proxy interior) was revealed.


*Wow Neon, MINI could only move 2082 Pacemen in 2014 ? That's about as low as Scion iQ

Last edited by Pee-wee Germa; 01-22-2015 at 10:16 AM.
Pee-wee Germa is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Smart Car Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Annette Winkler @ Motor Trend: The world needs this car. akcapsmart News 26 10-31-2014 07:42 AM
RIP Annette Funicello jwight Off-Topic Cafe 14 04-10-2013 07:28 PM
Tracey Matura and Dr. Annette Winkler interview jwight smart General Discussion 8 01-19-2013 07:28 PM
Smart head (Annette Winkler) stays ahead in car game rfernatt smart News & Rumors 24 11-11-2012 06:58 AM
Interesting Forbes article on smart and CEO Annette Winkler rfernatt smart News & Rumors 16 05-18-2012 03:50 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Clubs, Garage Plus vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.