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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Julie;

You hit the Bullseye when you asked;

"Why hasn't Smart USA launched an advertising campaign?"

The sale of any product depends on how it's promoted. We're flooded with car ads every day, but I have yet to see a TV AD for the Smart. There is a reason for this that someone is not letting on.

I found my Smart by accident. When I checked it out, the car sold itself. It's the center of attention where ever I go, and I'm always giving out information as to who sells them.

Step one, is to find out why the manufacturer isn't promoting its own product. Short & simple.
I just received an email ad from Smart that would make a great billboard:

A silhouette of the famous statue "The thinker" who says, "What's the big idea?"
Facing the silhouette is a photo of a silver Smart Cabriolet who says, simply, "me."

It was smart, clever and reminiscent of the great billboards Volkswagen displayed when they first came to the USA.

It's clear Smart can do smart ads, but they seem to prefer to send them to people who already have Smarts. Preaching to the choir doesn't bring in new parishioners. We've each done plenty selling for Smart. I really wish Smart would help us a little!
Something I noticed recently. I also go to the SCOA Forum. The Forum is loaded with car advertisment banners. Most any car you can imigine is advertised. (Except the Smart) A Smart Car Form with no Smart Car Ads. You might find a few Smart Ads in the fine print, but nothing that catches the eye. Depressing.
What I don't understand is why, at the local level, the dealers who handle multiple brands don't even advertise that they ALSO carry smarts. They're already running ads in the newspaper. At least they could carve out a small corner of the ad to show a smart for sale...
Jim
I don't understand what's happening, but there's something going on here. I love my smart, so I've been collecting information, and cross referencing parts. In the near future, we may be a vanishing breed. Soon, we can show out Smarts next to the Edsels, Studebakers, and Packards.
What is happening is major manufacturers are bringing their version of the Smart to market...They obviously know that gas prices are going substantially up...Ford , Fiat,Toyota,and Nissan could not be all wrong about the future micro car market in the USA... Smart is brilliant in a high gas price environment...
There should be adds here, they already have so many good ones out there they just have to put them out there, my thoughts are though that the all inclusive population may not be the audience that they would have the most successes with, perhaps the learning channels, environmental channels, and local channels the biggest questions I get are what does it run on, is it safe and where do you get them. if they can get those answers out there than I think that they would sell more..
Advertising or no, it won't do any good if the dealerships start going the way of smartCenter Charlotte - you go in through the MB side, and when you get to the smart side, the lights are out, no one is around - looks like an abandoned building. Can't get a call back either. Looks like they have decided to just hang it up, but haven't told anyone yet.
hi all. i live in westchester county ny and my dealer closed too. i had been to an event at smart center manhattan/manhattan mercedes. fun event and very nice dealer. they became my service center. it's an hour away but diffently worth the drive. i've had my 10k and 20k service there. and not for nothin'--they have a latte bar!! i'm concerned about the ext. warranty. i think if they pulled out, i'd sell. which would be ashame because i reall enjoy my smartie. and what other car would my plate make license plate make sense, "smartguy"
I agree we need to promote the FUN of the Smart. It's fun to go down the interstate at 85-90 and pass all the Transfers, SUV's, Corvette, Esclipse and watch their face as I wave and blow past them. One guy in a vette got so mad he got behind me until he could get around me and must of have hit 110 to show me he had horsepower. But it was even funnier when I passed him and he was sitting on the side of the road with the trooper writing him a ticket. I know running those speeds kill my gas mileage but I love being able to corner, speed off from red lights. I bought this car to be ECO friendly, but found out its a FUN, FUN, car to drive. Oh yeah and as for safety, DAWG II is the second Smart. I totaled the first one when a retard pulled out in front of me and I T-Boned him. But not a scratch on me, the seat belt locked so fast the airbag never touched my face. I LOVE MY SMART.
For what it's worth, I received the advertising survey in my e-mail yesterday. It had five proposed ad campaigns. I wasn't fired up about any of them, really, but I picked one as slightly better than the rest. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't gotten it yet. I hope this means that they ARE going to advertise. Anything is better than zero. It really is a FUN car!
I too am very concerned about dealership closing. My Smart was delivered in early 2008 by another dealer as my servicing dealer wasn't open yet. When they opened I started taking the car to Coral Gables for all the service. I called one day this spring for a service appointment and was told the dealership had closed and would have to take the car back to the delivering dealer in Weston Florida, another 50 miles up the road.

The dealer in Weston appear that they are going out of business, they only had 1, 2010 in stock and about 6, 2009 units. For a Dealer servicing most all of south Florida I would have thought they would have had a bigger inventory.

If this dealer closes then I am stuck with an ophan. I live in Key West, and the Smart car is a perfect Key West car. But I refuse to have to drive over 200 miles one way to have a car serviced. And then sad thing is no one in Key West will touch the Smart, they have not offered any service information to the after market.

Took delivery on my Smart Feb 3rd 2008. And Finally this last week they (Smart) were able to fix my backup problem. Another 400 mile round trip service experience. I have put on over 2000 miles back and forth to Miami trying to fix this problem.

I love my Smart and would love to have a Smart Electric, which would be an even better Key West Car. But will not even consider another Smart until they do something about this 2 year
24000 mile warranty. Iam reasonably sure this is one of the reasons that customers arn't buying the Smart. It is the poorest warrant in the industry and the extended warrant is a JOKE!

The car is great, Smart USA is not backing up the product. Their marketing is almost non existant.

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