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

Views: 545

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm also an LA-based voiceover artist and I offer Smart USA my services to voice the ads as well. I think people (potential customers) can hear if the voice reading the ads honestly believes what they're saying.

Randy H said:
Hey Julie...WOW...your idea's would make a very cohesive & effective ad campaign. I wonder if the new Smart USA president reads this forum...lets hope so! This is the type of feature/benefit advertising that needs to reach the automotive buying public. Smart USA must create demand & drive showroom traffic with a thought provoking and upbeat ad initiative...you're hired!!
Smart is advertising up to $2500 customer cash to buy a 2009 Smart...I don't know if this includes all models of Smart...
Robert,

Here is the breakdown of the Bonus Cash by model.

Pure = $750.00
Passion Coupe = $1,500.00
Passion Cabriolet = $2,000.00
Brabus Coupe = $2,000.00
Brabus Cabriolet = $2,500.00

If financing works out better for the clients budget they can choose to apply for smarts 1.9% interest rate. (You cannot combine Bonus cash with 1.9%)

If a client prefers leasing over buying smart also has pretty nice lease deals on each model.

I hope this info helps!


Michael


Robert Stout said:
Smart is advertising up to $2500 customer cash to buy a 2009 Smart...I don't know if this includes all models of Smart...
SMART Alecs Car Club of the Lehigh Valley had our second meeting with the smartUSA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director today. No news. Supposedly, it is a priority to get representation in our area (Philly, Allentown, Harrisburg and surrounding neighborhoods/towns/cities) for both sales and service. But nothing is being confirmed. Also no commitments for advertising. The only good point was smartUSA was at the Philly Auto Show and had "tremendous" interest. (Yeah except no place to buy them - my underbreath thought).

Our club then cruised through the streets of Allentown, PA onto Bethlehem PA with people stopping, looking, waving and SMILING as we passed by. That's more advertising then smartUSA has ever done in this area.

fastturb said:
the SMARTAlecs Car Club of the Lehigh Valley will be meeting with the smartUSA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director again on February 14th. The meeting will be held at The America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, PA.

many of us bought smarts (some of us even 2) from the now CLOSED Devon, PA dealer.

A smart cruise to the "casinos" in Bethlehem, PA will follow. Even if we don't get good news from smartUSA maybe we will get lucky at the casino ...
It's official, I just got off the phone with Smart Center Coral Gables, Tomorrow Feb 27, 2010 is their official closing date. No parts, no cars, no service, NADA! Not a good sign if a Smart center can't even stay open in a big city like Miami.
Too much doom and gloom... Other manufacturers would not be planning to import micro compacts without knowing that $5.00 per gallon gas was on the horizon...Smart gets smarter with age...

Randy H said:
Another dealership closing...very sad!! Penske's business model is flawed...time to consolidate Smart under the Mercedes USA franchise system. Unless a decision is made soon...the stigma of closing dealerships...will drive any potential customers away from the Smart brand. Based on the reality of Pontiac, Hummer,and Saturn...I'm not so sure Smart does enough volume to save. Very Sad!!
What a great ad, better yet in bits and pieces over and over. So frustrating that Smart is not as smart as you are!

I also believe that this little car needs to get into the movies! A good chase scene (like the real live high speed chase mentioned elsewhere on this website). A scene of changing color panels on the car and driving off in a different color. An accident scene that the Smart handles extremely well (like a real life situation I read about when the policeman was shocked at how well the car survived). Scene driving a Smart in the snow, like my own Smart that, after a snowfall, was totally covered in snow and looked like a snowball until I got in and drove it away with front & back wipers clearing the snow and my road driving blowing snow off the roof in chunks. Cute as hell! I tell you, it's a very charismatic car and one good movie role would likely help sale, I betcha.

Julie O'Malley said:
Here's my idea of a Smart ad: (all of these would be accompanied by appropriate photos and moving images of the car, including slow-mo crash tests)

~
"Let's talk about parking. The Smart car comfortably fits into a parking spot that every other car in America would have to pass up. (show Mini Cooper trying to fit and then leaving, then the Smart pulling into the spot) That's pretty Smart.

How about gas mileage? EPA ratings put the Smart Passion Coupe at 33mpg city, 41 highway. But many real-world Smart drivers are reporting mileage up to 15-20% higher. (show Smart car on lonely highway passing gas station without stopping) That's really Smart.

The Smart is friendly, too. People friendly... I mean, look at it. You can't help but smile. (show 'face shot' of Smart's front grill) But it's environmentally friendly too. For example, only water-soluble paints are used in Smart's production. The body panels with molded-in color are fully recyclable. So long after your Smart is retired from active duty, it's still useful (show new plastic bottles on an assembly line) . That's Earth Smart.

And Smarts are safe; (all through this segment, show footage of driving tests and crash tests, as well as the 'naked' Smart with Tridion shell exposed) With anti-lock braking and automatic cornering brake control systems to keep stopping under control. Acceleration Skid Control (ASC) and Engine Torque Control (ETC) which are designed to help the Smart ForTwo move forward on slippery surfaces. All Smart ForTwos are also equipped with a standard package of passive safety features, like full driver and passenger front airbags and side airbags for head and thorax protection. The steering column will collapse in the event of a serious front-end collision. But Smart's core design philosophy is focused on something called the Tridion Safety Cell. Much like a nut is protected by its hard outside shell, the Smart ForTwo's occupants are protected by a steel housing that combines longitudinal and transverse members that displace impact forces over a large area of the car. So your Smart keeps you safe, even when the other drivers out there aren't.

Smarts are comfortable, too. With plenty of headroom and legroom, you'll never feel cramped or packed in. (show obviously very tall man getting in car and looking pleasantly surprised) Really. But then you'll have to come in and try one to feel it for yourself.

And -- the Smart is affordable. The Smart ForTwo pure coupe starts at about $11,990. (show father with teenage son looking at sticker and smiling) The sporty Passion at about $13,990. That's money Smart.

So be Smart. Come and take a test drive and find out about getting Smart. Because tomorrow morning when you and your briefcase are on your way to work, ask yourself this: What do you really need those other seven seats for, anyway? (show single businessman with briefcase getting into a ginormous SUV, watching a Smart drive by.
But they HAVE
"A Good Year" (Russell Crowe)
The DaVinci Code (Tom Hanks)
"Under the Tuscan Sun" (Diane Lane)
"Pink Panther" (I and II) (Steve Martin's version)
"Aeon Flux" (Charlize Theron)
"Minority Report" (Tom Cruise)
"Sex in the City" (the film, not the TV show)
"GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra"

It's going to take more than film bits.


Dody West said:
What a great ad, better yet in bits and pieces over and over. So frustrating that Smart is not as smart as you are!

I also believe that this little car needs to get into the movies! A good chase scene (like the real live high speed chase mentioned elsewhere on this website). A scene of changing color panels on the car and driving off in a different color. An accident scene that the Smart handles extremely well (like a real life situation I read about when the policeman was shocked at how well the car survived). Scene driving a Smart in the snow, like my own Smart that, after a snowfall, was totally covered in snow and looked like a snowball until I got in and drove it away with front & back wipers clearing the snow and my road driving blowing snow off the roof in chunks. Cute as hell! I tell you, it's a very charismatic car and one good movie role would likely help sale, I betcha.
\
Oh, I wasn't talking about film bits. I was talking about it being an important character in the film, like the car the hero drives while being pursued by bad guys driving an SUV, and the hero and the car have adventures together. Who couldn't fall in love with a cute underdog guy driving a cute little car so small they can both hide behind a tree and outnimble a big, thuggy car! This is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but (positive) movie roles -- combined with good advertising, of course -- could do a lot to develop a clever image for the Smart. A little imagination could help!

Julie O'Malley said:
But they HAVE
"A Good Year" (Russell Crowe) The DaVinci Code (Tom Hanks) "Under the Tuscan Sun" (Diane Lane)
"Pink Panther" (I and II) (Steve Martin's version)
"Aeon Flux" (Charlize Theron)
"Minority Report" (Tom Cruise)
"Sex in the City" (the film, not the TV show)
"GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra"

It's going to take more than film bits.


Dody West said:
What a great ad, better yet in bits and pieces over and over. So frustrating that Smart is not as smart as you are!

I also believe that this little car needs to get into the movies! A good chase scene (like the real live high speed chase mentioned elsewhere on this website). A scene of changing color panels on the car and driving off in a different color. An accident scene that the Smart handles extremely well (like a real life situation I read about when the policeman was shocked at how well the car survived). Scene driving a Smart in the snow, like my own Smart that, after a snowfall, was totally covered in snow and looked like a snowball until I got in and drove it away with front & back wipers clearing the snow and my road driving blowing snow off the roof in chunks. Cute as hell! I tell you, it's a very charismatic car and one good movie role would likely help sale, I betcha. \
,
Well, in "The DaVinci Code", Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou have a very harrowing chase scene in her Smart Car through the streets of France.

In "A Good Year", the Smart is featured throughout the film because Russell Crowe's character is a spoiled London banker and bond trader who inherits a château and vineyard in Provence. When he goes to see the property with intent to sell, there's a charming little scene at the car rental place which lands him in the Smart Car. He has it through the whole film, and if I remember correctly, when he decides to keep the property and stay there instead of sell it, he buys a Smart Car, too.


Dody West said:
Oh, I wasn't talking about film bits. I was talking about it being an important character in the film, like the car the hero drives while being pursued by bad guys driving an SUV, and the hero and the car have adventures together. Who couldn't fall in love with a cute underdog guy driving a cute little car so small they can both hide behind a tree and outnimble a big, thuggy car! This is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but (positive) movie roles -- combined with good advertising, of course -- could do a lot to develop a clever image for the Smart. A little imagination could help!
People really don't know the smart. You are correct about that. The People who do know what it is often think the car is electric, expensive, unsafe or lacks passenger space. Smart needs to get their cars and displays into shopping malls, stores and other places and let people sit in them. Also, their ad message "open your mind" really puts me off. It could be restated: "you are not open-minded", or "smart: there is something wrong with you". I like the car and would have bought hats, shirts and all the garbage, but hate the message. I think the campaign is just about as bad as the "ad campaign" for the electric car which seemed like an advertisement for a horror movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g7cgUm7o9k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXDGpkcoJhE

Smart has a huge challenge in the common misconception that every small car is unsafe. The buyer who doesn't study up thinks small=unsafe must mean that the smallest = the most unsafe. The safe and smart website is the attempt to correct this, but it isn't exactly tagged to the top of every google, yahoo, aol and other search. Crashed cars labeled as if they were smart cars often are at the top of image searches for smart car. Then there have been the hoaxes of crashes which feature a car mangled enough that it looks like it might have been a Smart, but is not. With no ad campaign showing the relative safety of the smart, people take this to be the genuine article:

cases in point: look at the wheels...I think this is actually an SUV
http://www.moral-flexibility.net/images/smartcar_accident_02.jpg

and the famous one (I think a prius)
http://i264.photobucket.com/albums/ii162/jpnca/smart.jpg

It isn't just a big ad campaign they need. I think the company needs to expand the use of free and inexpensive media, existing social networks (facebook, myspace etc...tons of people are using those sites and see ads) and work to dispel myths, not in a defensive way, but in a more informational way while highlighting something that really hasn't been part of the ad campaign in the U.S. that I've seen, which is that the smart car is fun.

Many smart car buyers in the U.S., I think the majority, are older. The majority of people who seem really interested in my car at the gas pump have white or gray hair. Their children, if any, are adults and they only need two seats. When they were younger they drove iconic cars like the 57 chevy and the VW Beetle. For them, 40mpg is still great. The smart car is fun. It is the most inexpensive convertible on the market. You can take the car out for the weekend and drive it, when you would have run out of money taking the hummer out for a spin around the block. I think that smart commercials could look a lot like Mountain Dew commercials in the 1990s but perhaps with a wider age range, with less soda and more Smart Car.

The green marketing has probably reached the segment it will reach. People look at the Smart car and think that it is "green". However, for those who seek out and research green choices and conservation as their first priority, Smart really needed the diesel here yesterday. The British commercial about not filling the smart and driving trip after trip after trip after trip made me think, "wow, I really need one of those". To highlight the cost of driving a cobalt (picking on them because they picked on smart) getting thirty something vs. a diesel smart getting closer to 75mpg over a year, or a three year lease would sell the cars for people who like to keep their money. The American consumer expects something as small as the smart to be getting 50, 60, 70mpg or more. The diesel can do that, but it isn't an option here, which makes some people feel cheated -or like not buying a smart and waiting until the "real one" is here...which might not ever happen if the sales of these gas models don't pick up exponentially.

I think the message needs to be that these little cars are fun and will make your life more enjoyable, with all the real information to dispel myths mixed in.
What America wants is a Corvette with its high HP/cu. in. engine, stylish design,plastic body panels,see through roof, asymmetrical tires, alloy wheels, red interior,auto/standard transmission, and electric everything.,..What America can afford is a Smart Passion with those very same features , plus the added bonus of being able to get into it and out of it with a bad back...

Reply to Discussion

RSS

find a

smart center

go

Photos

Loading…
  • Add Photos
  • View All

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2014   Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service