Smart USA is planning to launch a TV advertising campaign in the United States in June as part of its strategy to further penetrate a market which it just entered in 2008. If the TV ads proceed as planned, it would be the second TV campaign for smart. The current market penetration program of Mercedes’ small car unit also involves extending the low lease rates for the 2013 ForTwo models it rolled out last week.
Leases for the 2013 ForTwo start at $99 for 36 months with a $999 down payment. The ForTwo is offered with a starting price of $13,240, including shipping. With the marketing campaign, smart aims to put off its dismal performance in 2011, when it sold just 5,208 units in the US.
This was a far cry from its feat in 2008, when smart, then distributed by Penske Automotive Group, sold 24,622 units. For 2012, smart sees an improvement as sales have risen for six straight months. In fact, the company posted a 75 percent year-on-year increase in sales for the January to April 2012 period at 3,028 units.
Tracey Matura, smart USA’s general manager, is optimistic about the unit’s progress in the US, saying that there is “still plenty of runway" for growth. Matura added that they are feeling the momentum and they want it to continue. smart has to offer only a refreshed ForTwo for the 2013 model year, but has something new to offer, a replacement for ForTwo, for 2014. smart is also planning to roll out a four-dour minicar in 2015.
Despite the lack of new models, smart is still able to attract buyers, mainly thanks to its marketing efforts, which according to Matura, is a key reason why people are recognizing and understanding the brand.
Matura also provided a brief description of the upcoming TV commercials: they will make the public think why smart is special. Although Matura did not provide details of the commercials, she said that ForTwo’s nimbleness and mileage at 38 mpg on the highway are the car’s attributes that can be promoted.