Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
To the XCAPEPOD!
Joined
·
6,101 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is Second Time The Charm For Smart's ForTwo In U.S. Market?

"Smart USA thinks the slide in popularity of the model is down to what the buying public don't know about the model, rather than what they do, and it's all too easy to let your preconceptions of the car put you off before you've given it a fair assessment. Tracey Matura, general manager for Smart USA, is hoping those preconceptions can be turned around.

In an interview with Edmunds, she said: "You very rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, but this is where we have a chance to do that." Smart is betting on having the might of Mercedes-Benz USA behind it to assist in a strong marketing campaign to draw people into the brand.

The Smart's ideal market of youthful urbanites has also shunned the ForTwo up until now, and most Smart buyers are actually 45-50 year old men living in the suburbs. Matura thinks there's unexplored potential for the car in urban areas as a result. [IMHO, I think this is a mistake. I believe there is more potential for commuters.]
 

·
He's not mine
Joined
·
9,614 Posts
I'm not 100% sure about the grammar, but I agree with ...
Smart USA thinks the slide in popularity of the model is down to what the buying public don't know about the model, rather than what they do
I know there's lots of support for additional models, the return of the forfour primarily, but I feel improvements on the fortwo would be effort better spent. Most cars have back seats, that's not a big deal. People who need a back seat have plenty of options. Being a two seater is one of the attractions of the smart, for me anyway. I would most certainly buy from another manufacturer if I needed more seating.

I agree that pursuing a broader age range would be great. That's where promoting the FUN factor would help. Most of us know, the smart is fun to drive. The problem here is, a whole pack of the youthful market ... even those who can swinig the bucks for a NEW vehicle, see a make or break deal in a difference of $5K to drive off the lot.

Promote the fun, promote the safety, promote individuality, promote personality. MPG, not so much. Seating, meh. And, for crimmy's sake get a vastly better warranty!!!!
 
Joined
·
643 Posts
That's how we sell them here. We explain what people don't know about the smart fortwo. Tracey is correct in her assessments. If she was wrong? You think we'd chime in? :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,308 Posts
I've been told Sept. 20th is the majic date.... The day MBUSA starts advertizing smart. Can't wait to see what they have come up with.:)
 

·
He's not mine
Joined
·
9,614 Posts
So they think they have figured out the smart demographic. Midlife crisis car.

I thinks they are wrong
Mid life crisis car for 50 year old men who can only afford a $20K car? That's sad. And, untrue, IMO.





However, there may be a bit of a toy aspect to the equation, for some.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
I find it interesting that people in this country would not know about the smartCar. I don't even have a television set and I have known about them since well before 2008 (I was waiting breathlessly for their USA introduction, as were many of you).

I think that smarties would appeal to DINKS (double income, no kids), as well as the "empty nester" demographic. Not to mention full-time RVers. smart should have an ad in EVERY camping, rv and retirement magazine on the planet, as well as partner with the Good Sam, and other camping-related groups.

As for trying to get these little cars to appeal to a youthful demographic, I think that is a waste of time and money. First of all young people like to DRIVE FAST AND RECKLESSLY whenever possible. smart just doesn't provide the OOMPH that is necessary to squeal those tires! Also, young people are so INSECURE that they invariably need to go everywhere with as many friends as possible. You almost never see a young person alone or with only one other person. So having a back seat is really important to them.

Since approximately 19 percent of the adult population is childfree (me included), and that it has been statistically proven that the more intelligent you are the more likely you are to be childfree (ahem, tooting my own horn a bit), then the obvious market would be intelligent, child-free professionals.

If I were smart, I would completely change my marketing to not only include how much fun it is to drive, the obvious gas economy (and kindness to the environment), but also try to put the car in a light that it is an "upscale, trendy car for urbanites". It certainly would NOT hurt to partner with some high-profile celebrities and sports figures that appeal to that group. Just imagine the impact that an advertising campaign would have for the next Olympics if smart provided cars to all the participants for transportation! The Olympic smartCar army! That appeals exactly to the right demographic.

smartCars should also be represented at all the bicycling events like the Tour de France, and other high-level (high-brow) events such as the sailing an yachting events. What smart has to do is convince people that the little car is *the* car to have. Once high-end people are seen driving and promoting the car, the masses WILL follow so as to be "trendy".

I'd like to see them give a couple of cars away to very visible celebs to drive for free (and even pay them to do it). That would really make a difference in the enthusiasm that this country would have for them.

just my two cents

donsgal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
Tracey, IMO, is full of Beans.

The first steps should be to fix the flaws that the auto writers love to hark on. Trans...and... Ride.

Then, and only then, will it be worth while to try and change minds about tiny car safety and owning a weird looking (Small) car.

As far as going after the youth market...No hope until those 08's start to hit the used car market at under 5k.

Then, like the old used bugs of the late 60s early 70's, Smart will be the car that's kool to be seen in, especially the cab's. :D A2Jack
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,156 Posts
They could start by putting the Mercedes moniker BACK on the cars to show they're not so ashamed of them with a Korean 10 year/100000 mile, bumper-to-bumper, warranty to show how long they will run, troublefree....

This would also "encourage" MB to fix some of the common problems, like $500 fuel pumps, clutches, $400 blower fan motors, etc. we read about, here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,098 Posts
I gave mine to my 21 year old daughter. She's been driving a month now. Her comments about the car..... whats with that stupid transmission! Needs more power, someone going to kill me in it. Needs a nice sound system like your 500. She's sick of telling people, it runs on gas, not electric. and who makes it. MB makes it.
No thats not a MB product, they tell her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I don't think anything can or will be done to the car to make the ride better or transmission smoother. We're just going to have to wait for the new car. It just doesn't make sense for smart to invest the money needed to do that on a car that's soon to be replaced.

Is the smart perfect? No. But I drive it and most of the time I'm perfectly happy with it. It is what it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
Quote Smark."No that's not a MB product, they tell her."

:D Up until now, here in the US, MB, has held this car at such arms length I don't think even they believe it is one of theirs.

The car has a lot more zoom using paddles and a solid heavy foot. Tis a dog in "D". A2Jack
 

·
He's not mine
Joined
·
9,614 Posts
Interesting (brief) exchange on the road yesterday. Stopped at a light, a guy in the lane to my right motions for me to lower my window. He is looking at the front wheel apparently, then makes the question/statement, "That's a smart car ... right?"
Yep, I sez. And then, right as the light changed to green he asks, "Made by Mercedes?"
Arggg. No time to answer properly ... I just said, "sort of ...", and it was time to go.
The word is getting around though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,098 Posts
You drop a 120+ hp engine in it, a killer sound system. Youthful interior. New transmission, kids might go for it. MB needs hold a focus group, on what the youth would want to see in the smart brand. It was design to be a city car, that got great gas milage. Very few of youth, care about gas milage. Their parents pay for that. MB is use to selling high end cars to the successful folks. Not to the younger group. Honda, Scion and Toyota, and KIA are there, in the market place.

I bought my smart in the first place for gas milage, and it was cute. I'm 50+
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,030 Posts
I think that MB should really hit up on the single adult seeking a car that is fun and economical. That was the first thing that appealed to me, the gas saving factor. I find it is fairly cheap to run, well until you get to the service intervals. It is different and yes it is a lot of fun to drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
858 Posts
I used to be one of the many who looked at the smart and said dumb. I too thought it was a rolling death trap due to it's size. Then I took a test drive and it was fun. So I hit the internet and from forums like this learned of the roll cage and it's safety. I bought my 2008 Passion and have never regretted it.:cool:
I have trained my trany in auto to shift smoothly at 3grand int each gear, took about a month. This car should be advertised highlighting the fun side as well as the roll cage.:cool:
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top