I've been hearing a lot about dealerships closing all across the USA, and I have to say I'm quite concerned. Sales are WAY down, to the point where dealers can't cover their overhead.

Why hasn't Smart USA launched an advertising campaign? Don't they realize that the general American consumer expects to get a great deal of their consumer information from commercials? Especially when it comes to cars? One of the reasons that Honda, Chevy, Ford, Mercedes, BMW and Hyundai are successful is due to their aggressive advertising on TV and radio. Watch a sporting event on television and you're inundated with car ads at every commercial break.

I had to call my insurance company for a claim recently and the customer service representative had to Google "Smart Car" while we were on the phone because she didn't know what it was! And she works for a major auto insurance company!!

I think Smart USA has seriously dropped the ball and have sabotaged their own success in the USA. It would be very disappointing for myself and all the other Smart owners out there if the brand went defunct in the USA and we found our extended warranties are no longer worth anything.

Thoughts?

Tags: advertising, closures, dealerships

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Yes that has been a concern with me as well. I am near some dealerships, but i am not in a mood to have mine close down for any reason.
I heard that they may pull smarts out of the USA all together bc they aren't selling at all
From what I have read, only two dealerships have closed. One being in Laguna Nigel, CA. and the other one in Devon, PA. smart is going through a change of leadership with Dave Schembri being transferred and the former general manager of Saturn has taken over his duties, in an effort to get sales back on track. Many are speculating that increased fuel prices will bring people back to the smartcenter showrooms. We certainly hope the new management team will be able to bring people back to smart and increase sales.
It's going to take a lot more than rising fuel costs to bring Smarts into public awareness... My insurance company customer service rep didn't know what a Smart Car was and she works for Allstate, for heaven's sake. People still come up to me at gas stations and grocery store parking lots and ask me what it is, and I live in LOS ANGELES.

For two years I bugged Dave Schembri (we're friends) to let me narrate the ad campaign. I'm a voiceover artist and I told him I would do it for scale for the first year of the campaign, just to get the word out and help launch it. They should be running commercials during baseball games on TV, the Superbowl and during American Idol. Not everyone in this country likes, wants, or needs an SUV. But if they don't KNOW about the Smart Car, they're not going to show up at the dealerships.

One guy at a gas station was under the impression that they cost somewhere around $40,000 to buy. I was stunned. There is so much mis-information floating around out there and the only people that can set the consumer public straight is SMART.
Julie, you are absolutely right about advertising. If its not in front of people with good informative ads, all we have is the continuous bad reports from lazy AUTO journalists and our word of mouth... come on smart! get up of your rumps and advertise the darn car before the competition eats you alive! not because of a better car but because you bet they will invest in ad campaigns like you NEVER did!
A while back GMA had a story about the cars that boasted the best mileage, and again, the Smart was omitted completely from the list. I'm getting between 42-50 MPG consistently in mine, and if that doesn't beat the damn Camry, I'll eat my gas cap. But because Smart hasn't jumped into the Car Wars advertising fray, GMA and other news people aren't paying any attention.
Let's give Jill Lajdziak an opportunity to make some things happen. I have a feeling advertising is in her plan, smart is doing a nationwide leasing campaign again, the new chrome yellow package will be available soon and Jill has even mentioned the D(iesel) word in some of her interviews. What happened over the past two years is history; can't be changed. There is a reason Roger P. brought Jill Lajdziak in and I'm guessing we'll start seeing changes very shortly.
Well, I have to say that I find the timing of David Schembri's departure and Jill's indoctrination in his place coinciding with dealership closures a bit much to be just a coincidence.
I'm not really surprised that sales are down. After the initial "rush" from folks who had been wating a long time for the smart to come to the US I think a slowdown in sales was inevitable. Add in the economic downturn in general and there was bound to be a significant hit. Are there any figures on how far sales have fallen off?

My concern in all of this would be service support. My smart dealer in the Cleveland area shares the service facility with a Mercedes dealer. Is this the case everywhere? Even if my smart dealer goes under there will hopefully still be trained service techs to do smart maintenance.
Monthly sales numbers here: http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f65/latest-monthly-total-us...

Should have the Jan 2010 numbers in the next few days.

Keith got his smart said:
I'm not really surprised that sales are down. After the initial "rush" from folks who had been wating a long time for the smart to come to the US I think a slowdown in sales was inevitable. Add in the economic downturn in general and there was bound to be a significant hit. Are there any figures on how far sales have fallen off?

My concern in all of this would be service support. My smart dealer in the Cleveland area shares the service facility with a Mercedes dealer. Is this the case everywhere? Even if my smart dealer goes under there will hopefully still be trained service techs to do smart maintenance.
January 2010 sales just released: 278 smarts sold. This is grim news.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/daimler-ag-reports-an-incre...

jwight said:
Monthly sales numbers here: http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f65/latest-monthly-total-us...

Should have the Jan 2010 numbers in the next few days.

Keith got his smart said:
I'm not really surprised that sales are down. After the initial "rush" from folks who had been wating a long time for the smart to come to the US I think a slowdown in sales was inevitable. Add in the economic downturn in general and there was bound to be a significant hit. Are there any figures on how far sales have fallen off?

My concern in all of this would be service support. My smart dealer in the Cleveland area shares the service facility with a Mercedes dealer. Is this the case everywhere? Even if my smart dealer goes under there will hopefully still be trained service techs to do smart maintenance.
I'm sorry.... but how exactly is this "grim news" that they sold 278 cars in a month? I'd say they seem to be on the right track, especially considering that on that same exact statistics sheet, it says that in the previous year, they only sold about 1,776. So you figure in the first month of this year.... they already sold what..... just shy of 1/6 of the total number of cars sold last year? Doesn't sound too grim to me.

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