Steve’s breakdown: Penske Automotive Group is out! Mercedes-Benz USA is in! Which means the Smart Car is getting a makeover. Get in line ladies and gentlemen, there’s going to be some pitching going on!
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI soon to be MONTVALE, NJ: Smart has been falling off the map slowly because the brand’s awareness has decreased significantly. But to reinvigorate the brand, a new team was appointed to run the company for Daimler AG and they feel that Americans are shunning the Smart ForTwo because very little knowledge is known about the car, especially since marketing hasn’t exactly been Smart’s strong suit as of recent.
“You very rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, but this is where we have a chance to do that,” said Tracey Matura, Smart USA’s new general manager. “We can put the full suite of our marketing efforts behind it, and that’s the good thing about having an organization like Mercedes-Benz USA behind [Smart]. They’re known for marketing. And marketing and advertising opportunities will be first and foremost.”
Penske Automotive Group was primarily in charge of running the brand before Mercedes-Benz’s parent Daimler AG had decided to take full control of Smart’s US last month, relieving Penske from the responsibility. Now, Smart USA really wants to take advantage of the marketing prowess that already preexists with the Mercedes-Benz brand, thanks to Daimler AG closing the ties with the brand
Either way, Daimler AG and the Smart brand have a long way to go to try and reinvigorate the brand. It would certainly be interesting to see how their efforts play out.