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October 31, 2007

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Launch of the smart fortwo in the USA

Stuttgart - San Francisco and Silicon Valley become “smart Valley” as the smart USA Media Test Drive event takes place in one of America’s “smartest” regions. The new smart fortwo is scheduled to roll on the streets of America in January. The shortest and most compact automobile currently in production will soon be launched in the world’s largest automobile market.

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.

The Media Test Drive location was carefully chosen. California is a key market in the United States. The State of California and the Silicon Valley in particular, is a leading area in the United States for design, technology and environmental awareness. These features characterize the smart fortwo. Furthermore, both the smart brand and the model have roots in Silicon Valley dating back more then ten years. The Silicon Valley also stands for an open minded America.

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 stops of the smart Media Test Drive include the renowned Stanford University in Palo Alto and visits to world-famous high-tech companies such as Intel, Google, Apple, eBay and Sun Microsystems. These locations illustrate smart’s proximity to information technology that is characterized by creativity, visions and the courage to make pioneering decisions. The Computer History Museum at the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View does not only bring the history of the computer to life; a special limited exhibition also shows the development of smart with outstanding concept cars.

The comparison of the evolution of computers with the smart fortwo also clearly shows that greatness is not a matter of size. Despite its compact dimensions, the smart fortwo offers the driver and passenger remarkable freedom of movement equal to or greater than some larger cars.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the two-seater quickly became popular following its launch in October 1998. The same is expected to hold true in the United States. More than 770,000 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.

Apart from this, the vehicle concept is extremely practical - especially for people who live in large urban areas. Many Americans drive with just a single occupant. The size of the smart fortwo allows for faster movements in cities. Finding a parking space will also be simplified.

In the context of the U.S. market smart is also redefining the distribution concept. This includes the new smart Center San Francisco. 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 American mindset is changing. The smart fortwo proves that greatness is not a question of size. The smart fortwo has been embraced in the States long before the first vehicles are expected to arrive in the showrooms. The 24 week smart USA “street smart” road show has been touring the USA since May with three display trailers, test drive vehicles and product specialists presenting the smart fortwo from coast to coast. To date, the road show has attracted and convinced 65,000 visitors. The road show will continue until early November and when complete is expected to reach over 75,000 people in over 50 cities across the United States.

The presentation of the brand and the road show have been very well received by the U.S. consumers and the American press. In many cities across the country, consumers waited in line for over an hour to test drive a fortwo. Many waited in temperatures over 100 ° F whilst others drove over 3 hours to attend a smart road show event. In the end road show surveys indicated the smart fortwo met or exceeded expectations.

The presentation of the brand and model has been very well received by the US public and the press. For example, in Las Vegas; here, 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. Many enthusiastic comments were heard: “Driving a smart is really great. It’s really good fun.”

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 over 3 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.

The reaction of dealers has also 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.

Photo: smart

(Oct. 29, 2007)

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