The FINANCIAL -- The smart fortwo is celebrating its launch to the world’s largest automobile market in Detroit .The shortest and most compact automobile currently in production is scheduled to roll on the streets of America this month.
According to Daimler, the smart fortwo is the right car, at the right time for U.S. Drivers. Americans are faced with volatile fuel prices, increased urban congestion and a mindset of environmental responsibility. The smart fortwo offers a high level of comfort, agility, safety and ecology. Its unique features and attributes meet consumer wishes now and well into the 21st century.
smart expresses the lifestyle of an enlightened and forward-thinking social class with joie de vivre that cannot be defined by age or social standing, but rather by an attitude, lifestyle and open-minded outlook on life. smart isn’t just another micro-car, it’s a statement by enlightened drivers of the 21st century who look at future challenges and actively and positively impact outcomes. Like owning an Apple i-Mac, i-Pod or i-Phone, smart documents the open-minded attitude of the “thought leaders”, who choose innovative solutions as an existential part of their everyday lives.
The smart fortwo proves that greatness is not a question of size. The presentation of the brand and model has been very well received by the US public and the press long before its market launch. The 24 week smart USA “street smart” road show toured the USA between May and November with three display trailers, test drive vehicles and product specialists presenting the smart fortwo from coast to coast. The road show has attracted and convinced over 75,000 people in over 50 cities across the United States.
For example, in Las Vegas; people waited patiently for an hour in temperatures of 104°F to test drive the cars in the parking garage of the Fashion Show Mall. Some even went straight back to the end of the queue again after the short jaunt in order to drive a smart one more time.
Over 30,000 Americans have placed a $99 deposit on a smart fortwo. Dealers will begin to fill orders in January 2008. smart USA’s website - www.smartusa.com - has received nearly 4 million visits since June 2006, over 95,000 people have signed up as smart “insiders” and visitors spend an average of over five minutes on the site.
In the context of the U.S. market smart is also redefining the distribution concept. Roger Penske and Penske Automotive Group (PAG) will serve as the official distributor for the smart fortwo beginning in 2008. This partnership is unique and also demonstrates forward-thinking on the part of smart.
The reaction of dealers has been overwhelming: smart USA received more than 1400 applications. Although many were qualified, only a few were selected. Approximately 70 carefully selected dealerships will sell the fortwo in 2008 in major cities across the United States.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the two-seater is already a big success. Since its launch in October 1998, about 780,000 customers opted for a first generation smart fortwo; often to replace a larger car with the lively two-seater. The smart fortwo is a special car and clearly stands out from the crowd. It should not be taken for granted - the smart fortwo is simply fun to drive.