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From today's Automotive News:

M-B backs Smart with ads, deals

Exec: Efforts are the first for brand in U.S.

The ForTwo is Smart's only nameplate sold in the United States.

Diana T. Kurylko
Automotive News -- July 11, 2011 - 12:01 am ET

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Smart USA will launch a TV, print and digital marketing campaign by year end to jump-start the struggling microcar brand that Mercedes-Benz USA took over on July 1.
"People are not avoiding the brand or the product, but there is a great majority of people who are not aware of the brand," said Tracey Matura, the new general manager of Smart USA.
Mercedes is also offering lease and finance deals for the Smart brand through its Mercedes-Benz Financial Services captive finance arm. Leases starting at $179 per month for 24 months and 0.9 percent interest for 36 months and 1.9 percent for up to 60 months were launched last week.
The TV and print advertising and competitive finance programs will be a first for Smart in the United States, Matura said. She would not say now much the programs will cost.
"We will do things the same way as we do on the Mercedes-Benz side -- that is the benefit of having an organization like Mercedes-Benz USA behind you," Matura said in an interview last week.
"Leasing and APR programs are especially important when you are trying to attract new customers to the brand," Matura said.
Mercedes-Benz took over the distribution, sales and marketing of the ailing Smart brand from Penske Automotive Group. Smart is owned and produced by Mercedes' parent, Daimler AG, but the U.S. distribution was given to Penske in 2008.
Penske Automotive Group relied primarily on social media and event marketing to promote the Smart brand. Sales of the ForTwo microcar soared to 24,622 cars in 2008 as gasoline prices reached record highs. But as gasoline prices fell and the recession took its grip, Smart sales tumbled, falling to 5,927 cars last year. Through June this year, Smart sold 2,556 cars.
"The guerrilla and alternative marketing were great for the first one-and-a-half years, but then the world changed and Smart not being a fully established brand was one of the first to suffer," said Jay Agresta, president of Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corp. in Englewood, N.J., and one of the first Smart dealers in the United States. "What we need now is the marketing muscle of Mercedes-Benz."
Agresta said he's convinced that Mercedes-Benz Financial Services also will make it easier to finance first-time buyers: "That was one of the big pieces for us. We lost access to the first-time buyer, and now we have lots of access to credit."
Matura won't forecast how many more Smart cars Mercedes-Benz will sell, but said she's convinced the brand's potential hadn't been tapped. For starters, Mercedes-Benz can pitch Smart to young and urban buyers -- the audience Penske Automotive Group initially targeted. Today, most Smart buyers are 45- to 50-year-old men living in the suburbs, Matura said.
Only 75 Mercedes-Benz dealers are selling Smart, 53 appointed by Penske Automotive Group and 22 new dealers, Matura said. By year end, 100 Mercedes-Benz dealers will be selling Smart, she said.
Penske Automotive Group took back the franchise from 22 non-Mercedes-Benz dealers who had built separate or stand-alone showrooms for the Smart brand and bought back vehicles and tooling.
Matura said Mercedes-Benz no longer requires separate or stand-alone showrooms but wants a special corner within a store.
To level the playing field, Mercedes-Benz is paying dealers who built separate facilities and showrooms a monthly 1.5 percent facilities bonus for every Smart vehicle they sell, Agresta said.
The next-generation Smart car being developed by Renault SA and Daimler AG won't come to market until 2014. The redesigned ForTwo and the third-generation Renault Twingo will be built on a Renault platform.
Smart salesJune 2011330 6 months 20112,556June 2010577 6 months 20103,349% change–43% % change–24%

 

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When I display my car at shows and show the engine, that's how I do it except with the roof rails off, but I do agree, they should have fully retracted the roof and removed the rails.
 

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Especially that "they" have access to many "nicer" pictures on their own Daimler site! Few of those that we have used ourselves often... :rolleyes:
 

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Especially that "they" have access to many "nicer" pictures on their own Daimler site! Few of those that we have used ourselves often... :rolleyes:
Does that mean MB still doesn't Get It...??? Who is driving that MB Bus...???
MB doesn't follow its "own" formula with the Smart...??? Build a Big HP Nasty Smart that the Mag. Reviewers cannot Deny... Smart does not have a Halo Car...??? EVERYBODY else does...???

Hello MB...!!!??? Don't you GET IT...!!!
A car company can't make it on only selling Girly Cars alone...
 

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It's time to bring a Hot hopped up Brabus Turbo Cabrio with a Zeroshift transmission in it to the critics. Now have fun with that. Give it a sport and an eco mode switch. I think that would turn some heads.
The zeroshift transmission will fit in the existing housing of the present car according to www.zeroshift.com
The fortwo would be the perfect car to transform with zeroshift technology. I wish Daimler and Zeroshift would find each other.
The key to this transmission, is that the gear change happens without going thru neutral. The higher gear simply picks up the load and unloads the lower gear.
This transmission appears to be the next big advance in transmission technology that will steel the thunder from the double clutch and automatic technology. Time will tell.
 

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Smart does not have a Halo Car...??? EVERYBODY else does...???
I believe they may think that the ED is the "halo" car, but the current beta version is still only so-so even in the electric world. A real Euro-style turbo Brabus would barely blip the performance meter compared with other pocket rockets that would cost the same or less. IMO, we'd need a hot new Roadster to make a dent in that category (looks and performance).

Now, a diesel version that handily trounces the MPG of every other vehicle sold in the US, hybrid or not, and always appears at the top of the "most efficient" lists would be something of a halo, like the Prius is for Toyota.
 

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Now, a diesel version that handily trounces the MPG of every other vehicle sold in the US, hybrid or not, and always appears at the top of the "most efficient" lists would be something of a halo, like the Prius is for Toyota.

Very shrewd thinking, right there.
 

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I believe they may think that the ED is the "halo" car, but the current beta version is still only so-so even in the electric world. A real Euro-style turbo Brabus would barely blip the performance meter compared with other pocket rockets that would cost the same or less. IMO, we'd need a .

Now, a diesel version that handily trounces the MPG of every other vehicle sold in the US, hybrid or not, and always appears at the top of the "most efficient" lists would be something of a halo, like the Prius is for Toyota.
:eek:
Euro-style turbo Brabus diesel hot new Roadster to make a dent in that category (looks and performance) with a zeroshift transmission that always appears at the top of the "most efficient" lists would be something of a halo, like the Prius is for Toyota.
Now, I'm salivating. :D Yes, I can cut and paste.

"MB Shows Marketing Muscle for smart". I wish they would show a little muscle, or even a big Muscle :D in Memphis. The next two closest dealers are 3 and 3.5 hours away. Nothing in Arkansas. There's a perfectly good new showroom, quite large, needing a smart in a corner, in Memphis, just down the street from where I live. I called today, and was informed that they had heard that they would not be servicing smarts there. Too bad. If I had a great experience with them, our next larger car could have been a Benz. Sometimes Baby (Benz) steps lead to bigger things.
 
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