Sales of Daimler’s Smart brand of compact cars in North America have fallen by 76%. Only 5,927 units were delivered in 2010, a far cry from the 24,622 deliveries in 2008.
However, there’s a lot of optimism in the company as the result of Mercedes-Benz heading operations beginning on July 1, 2011, with Tracey Matura serving as the general manager. For the brand’s relaunch, $35 million (€26 million) will be invested. A new range will arrive in dealerships within the next several years.
In a Bloomberg interview, Ernst Lieb, head of Mercedes U.S. operation, said that the company expects “some positive momentum” as the result of its planned marketing activities. He said that the biggest challenge the brand is facing right now is that “nobody knows” about the car.
Jesse Toprak, an industry analyst with TrueCar, a website that monitors automotive sales, said that rather than a deficiency in marketing or lack of awareness, the issue really is the unsuitability of the car to the U.S. driver’s requirements.
He said that if the brand doesn’t offer a car that’s a good fit to U.S. driving habits, then nothing much will be accomplished.