Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
smartCentreMaple

smart Centre Sales

33 posts in this topic

Hi AllMy Name is Nick I'm the new smart specialist at Mercedes-Benz Maple in Vaughan. I have three years sale experience with Mercedes-Benz in Vancouver as a smart specialist at the West Broadway store. During my time with MB Vancouver, between myself and my co-worker. We sold lots of smarties between 20 to 30 units per month. After taking a year off, I have been recruited to sell these cute micro cars at our Newest corporate dealership in Maple. I was at MB Van from late 2006 to early 2009. Since I have been at MB Maple most of the smart CX's seem to be from out side of the GTA. I need to find a way to get locals also; we tried to promote the vehicle at wonderland and Vaughan Mills Mall with no success. I'm wondering if it could be the demographic,. Vancouver (B.C) residents seem more open minded to this little micro machine. I am 100% confident that their are GTA(ON) residents that are also open minded to this vehicle also. I realize that people have misconceptions about the vehicle, such winter driving in a smart. As we know, the smart is amazing in the snow with winter tires. It is very obvious the potential market in the GTA (ON) for smarts. I need creative ideas to target and approach these "open minded" people in the right way on the benefits on owning a smart. I believe in the brand, and I want it to succeed. It Is the perfect commuter car, gas prices are not gonna go lower any time soon ( i. e Peak oil). if any of you guys and gals have any Ideas please don't be shy. The EV wont be here until 2012 - 2013, so any Ideas that will help keep the smart selling well would be great! Yes MB has a referral fee policy. Nick Jacksonsmart Specialistsmart Centre MapleDirect 905-585-9327

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Nick,I got the enjoyment of being able to take a 2010 smart fortwo Highstyle for 48 hours, I did post a small review on it. One thing I believe that will bring a lot of people to the brand is the lower 2011 prices and the fact the new 2011 has the black plastic "skirt" painted the same as the body colour and adds the LED running lights it's bringing the high end car feeling into the game. One thing that has kind of drawn me to the new 2011 smart is the cabrio. With it's white body panels and white tridion with its red fabric roof, I think there should be at least one in all dealerships, it's very striking and the new lower prices will appeal to more people.One other thing is getting involved with the community doing projects, show the versatility of the smart, I believe it will peak peoples interest in the car again. Regarding it's winter capabilities put on a show of sorts, show it's safety features, do a winter course and invite people that stop in to take a look. Similar to a winter driving course smart car style.Hope that helps a bit, had to throw my two cents in there.Brit :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nick, I am not too shy, and as a July 2002 depositor on the original smart, I think I may have some helpful insights, though you may be disappointed that they're mostly not quick fixes.

What is needed to keep the flame for the fortwo lit is to - wait for it - offer more than just the one powertrain. Adding the ED is not enough, it won't be here for years, its range is poor and it won't work well in winter, plus that is a super-expensive car and if it sells for the equivalent of the lease price ($600 US per month), it will be more expensive than a Nissan Leaf and regular smart combined. So don't pin any hopes at all on that one....it's a vanity halo car for well-off self-styled environmental opinion leaders.

Here is what is needed:

    [*]smart 70 HP mhd (stop-start)

    [*]smart BRABUS 102 HP turbocharged gas engine

    [*]smart cdi 54 HP turbodiesel

    [*]possibly also the smart 84 HP turbocharged gas engine

The cdi is the most important of these, followed by the BRABUS and then the mhd.

The mhd would be the easiest to certify.

Yes, this will cost the parent company money, and no, PENSKE in the USA does not want any of the above (he'd rather slap a smart sticker on a Nissan Micra and call her good), so MBCanada will be on its own in lobbying for additional powertrains, JUST AS IT WAS IN 2002 when the original smart cdi was certified JUST FOR CANADA. OK I know a little more work needs to be done to the EU-5 engine to meet present standards, but it would probably fit into one of the lower tier "Bins" without too much reworking.

The problem with marketing and remarketing the 451 with one powertrain is that it is neither fish nor fowl; it is not particularly economical compared to other compact cars, nor is it particularly spritely to drive. It was not a good engine choice IMO. The best option if only one gas engine was chosen would have been the 84 HP turbo, which has some jam and still gets the same FE as the non-turbo, driven sensibly. The best engine would have been the cdi, there is no doubt at all about it in my mind.

The restyling of the interior is good but the extra airbags for North America mean that OE cruise control cannot be had with paddle shifters, which is just pathetic, which smart Bean Counter said that they couldn't afford another pair of wires or a slight bit more bandwidth on the CANBus? This sort of design work is shoddy - CC is available with paddles in Europe and not having both here in the same car means that MBCanada will conclude that no-one wants CC because the paddles are so nice and no-one orders CC. Self-fulfilling prophesy. I have both in my old 450 cdis. OEM.

What can you do? Aside from dealing with the root problem (no choice in powertrains and afterthought engineering for North America), make the BRABUS Tailor-Made program known to your customers, let them see the British BRABUS Tailor-Made catalogues (I have one) and order a few specially finished customs (no, I don't mean 10 battleship grey edit10ns, ugliest colour ever, and hardtop only (!!!!) which is why they didn't sell) for customers, that would be a draw, having a couple of those around certain dealers would draw some positive attention, even though the prices would be in the mid-thirties. It would be easier to sell these as 102 HP BRABUS-engined cars. That car will do 0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds, which - considering the smart gearbox - is stunningly quick.

What else? Short of certifying new powertrains, how about offering a factory engine upgrade kit (turbo from Europe) - it should be bolt on + software only, the engine internals are identical, right down to the special "low" 10:1 compression ratio of the CDN/USA cars, which is identical to that of the European turbos.

Since M-B service is so damned expensive, offer free service for the duration of the base warranty. Your competition at Toyota charges $40 for an oil change. Enough said?

Short-term gimmicks in marketing will only take the car so far. The US campaign "against dumb" is a desperate move to stir some people up, but it will not add anything to sales.

MINI has three body styles now (more to come) and two powertrains (three if you count the JCW versions). If BMW can afford to offer dealer-installed upgrade kits and other powertrains, why can't Mercedes-Benz?

This is a problem with the M-B lineup too. The B and C should both have the 4 cylinder cdi engine options. Your competition has it (Audi A3) and the BMW 3er has diesel too although it's a high performance six. Get out of the rut of following the godforsaken US market and think for yourselves. If smart is going to have a future in Canada, I think what I wrote above is part of the solution. The other part is the expansion of the range, but not with rebadged Nissans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The early-adopters have shown you the way, cousin.

Mod one or two up crazy. Fat wheels, slammed suspension, sports exhaust, iPod dock, power remap, ground-effects body kit, graphics, the whole woof-and-tweet thing. Hit the car shows, the malls, the club tracks - you know - where the people are.

Since it's not a mileage super-hero (like the cdi), and the whole safety thing doesn't seem to be motivating the public (since they don't believe it is safe and smart doesn't advertise worth spit), and the initial funkiness appeal has worn off, you've got to show its potential. Hey, just about everyone I know who has a smart has modified and personalized it. It's what we do ;) Leverage the fun.

Bil :sun:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I would not be at all interested in the current smart. Or for that matter one with a golf car like on/off mhd and especially not a 102HP Brabus (if you want HP, buy a real car). But I would be very interested in a smart with the updated CDI engine. Would they sell? VW seems to be doing well with their TDIs!If I was trying to market the current car, I would be aiming at the woman driver. I hardly ever get to drive our smart. Same is true for friends of ours with a 451. The Ladies love them and when they meet, they have fun both parking in the same parking place! They think the car is "Cute" :) Sell the Girls and Ladies on the car - Men like buying cars anyway, so if the girlfriend or wife is sold, the men will willingly go along! Offer a choice of attractive exterior and exterior colour combinations (but not Pink!) and get them to choose which they like best - once they have chosen the colours, they HAVE to buy the car :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have been first in line to buy a 451 BRABUS right away if it had the 102 HP engine, a year ago. Now it's too late, I chose a BRABUS Tailor-Made 450 cdi (Canada 1). The number of Americans who have modified and turbocharged their cars is HUGE.Yes, the colour choice is pathetic. The two new ones this year (2011) are a start in the right direction. You need the MINI colour pallette.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The CDI!!! I am completely NOT interested in the gas engine.As Mike states well above, the gas engine is neither sporty nor economical compared to current offerings from other manufacturers. IMHO, the ideal drivetrain offering would be a CDI for the drivers who put on the miles to keep the CDI happy and can benefit from the truly phenomenal economy it is capable of, and the ED for the city cars who don't need the range. If a gas engine is offered it should be the turbo, then it is a fun peppy little machine.I quite agree with marketing to women, they tend not to buy in as much to the "bigger is better" mentality of the guys, and are more willing to approach the safety with an open mind.I recently bought and stored a very low mileage CDI engine for mine as I put on a LOT of miles, love the car, consider it almost perfect for my situation, and don't really think the CDI will be offered. If it was available I wouldn't have done that, instead planning on purchasing a new smart when mine dies. I would still consider selling my spare engine and purchasing new if the CDI comes back, but flatly not a gasser.I feel a part of the reasoning that went into MB's decision to not offer the CDI was the amount of problems experienced in our cold winter climate with the CDI, that is almost all among the city cars that never warm up properly in the winter. Proper marketing to ensure that few people choose the CDI for city cars would help that out. No diesel is happy as a low-mileage city car. Here in North America we have an awful lot of long commute drivers who are perfect for the CDI. Be sure you are marketing as a second car, the one that gets the high mileage while the SUV or minivan gets short distance family duty. Almost no-one here can have a smart as an only car, just doesn't work in North America.Good luck, and I applaud your initiative in approaching the existing community of owners like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too would love to see the new cdi hit our shores, however......“There is little possibility of another diesel Smart in North America,” Markus Riedel, Smart chief engineer, said when asked if advances in emission management might permit a return. “The technology that cleans the exhausts of larger Mercedes-Benz vehicles cannot be applied to the Smart, simply because there isn’t room with the engine in the rear. “Rather than bringing another diesel to North America, we anticipate expanding our sales with the electric Smart going on sale in 2012.” Dan Proudfoot ESSEN, GERMANY — Globe and Mail Update Published on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010Europeans have more Smarts - The Globe and Mail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(if you want HP, buy a real car).

Most of us think of the smart as a 'real car'..It simply isn't a muscle car. Who needs it? With 4 wheels, license plates, insurance and a motor, almost anything can be considered a real car.

If HP is your goal, obviously the smart isn't going to be your first choice, but then, neither is a VW. Break the bank and get yourself a Barabus TKR. At 1,005 BHP, that should keep you happy. It is capable of doing zero to 60 mph in 1.67 seconds. What’s more, the car reportedly has a top speed of 270 mph. (434½ kph)

Apologies to the Mods.. slightly off topic.

Back to topic..........I pretty much echo Mike T's sentiments. If the CDI were available here as a new vehicle, I'd be in the line-up to get one.

Kudos to Nick for taking his queries to the web and asking people who are already interested in smarts. Good luck in your venture.

Ron :bike:

Edited by Leadwing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of us think of the smart as a 'real car'..It simply isn't a muscle car. Who needs it? With 4 wheels, license plates, insurance and a motor, almost anything can be considered a real car.

If HP is your goal, obviously the smart isn't going to be your first choice, but then, neither is a VW. Break the bank and get yourself a Barabus TKR. At 1005 BHP, that should keep you happy. It is capable of doing zero to 60 mph in 1.67 seconds.

Don't know if your post was in response to mine in which I questioned Mikes choice of a Brabus 102HP or his, in wanting smart to sell the Brabus 102HP turbo :)

Sorry if I touched a nerve by implying smart is not a "real" car ;) But unfortunately many do think that way. That's a conception that smart marketing should try and correct.

I think the rest of your post agrees with what I said - why buy a smart anything, if HP is your goal. But there are always a few who want something different. I am always amazed that people will spend big $$ on an AMG package for an already powerful and luxurious Mercedes.

Edited by Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

102 HP in a car that weighs in at, say, 760 kg is like 204 HP in a car considerably lighter than the W204 C Class which I've driven a couple of, so it goes quite well thanks. The torque would be similar to 340 Nm in a typical W 204. Pretty good power- and torque-to-mass ratios.Colin Chapman made a career of building lightweight giant killers.Anyway, having driven the 451 Turbos in Europe, I sure would have been ready to buy the 102 HP version before last February, when I came instead to Toronto to get Snowball the white BRABUS diesel smart, which is not ever going to be for sale.I don't need five cars, so that's me for the foreseeable future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi smart fansThank you so much!! I'm going to pass on this message to Mark Dimech and Richard Trevisan (Manager, smart Canada). Hopefully their Influence will get the upper management at Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. to realign and position smart for greater sales numbers, and sales targets in Canada. It would be Amazing to see smart fortwo's the norm in everyday driving, instead of always seeing the same boring civics, corollas, and cobalts. Cheers! Thanks again. P.S I got to get back to work and sell some smart cars!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is an excellent summary. I'm in 100% agreement. The idea of a "factory engine upgrade kit" is great. Too bad we won't see any of this in Canada with the 451. Here's hoping that MBC comes through with gas turbo in the next gen smart.

Hi Nick, I am not too shy, and as a July 2002 depositor on the original smart, I think I may have some helpful insights, though you may be disappointed that they're mostly not quick fixes.

What is needed to keep the flame for the fortwo lit is to - wait for it - offer more than just the one powertrain. Adding the ED is not enough, it won't be here for years, its range is poor and it won't work well in winter, plus that is a super-expensive car and if it sells for the equivalent of the lease price ($600 US per month), it will be more expensive than a Nissan Leaf and regular smart combined. So don't pin any hopes at all on that one....it's a vanity halo car for well-off self-styled environmental opinion leaders.

Here is what is needed:

[*]smart 70 HP mhd (stop-start)

[*]smart BRABUS 102 HP turbocharged gas engine

[*]smart cdi 54 HP turbodiesel

[*]possibly also the smart 84 HP turbocharged gas engine

The cdi is the most important of these, followed by the BRABUS and then the mhd.

The mhd would be the easiest to certify.

Yes, this will cost the parent company money, and no, PENSKE in the USA does not want any of the above (he'd rather slap a smart sticker on a Nissan Micra and call her good), so MBCanada will be on its own in lobbying for additional powertrains, JUST AS IT WAS IN 2002 when the original smart cdi was certified JUST FOR CANADA. OK I know a little more work needs to be done to the EU-5 engine to meet present standards, but it would probably fit into one of the lower tier "Bins" without too much reworking.

The problem with marketing and remarketing the 451 with one powertrain is that it is neither fish nor fowl; it is not particularly economical compared to other compact cars, nor is it particularly spritely to drive. It was not a good engine choice IMO. The best option if only one gas engine was chosen would have been the 84 HP turbo, which has some jam and still gets the same FE as the non-turbo, driven sensibly. The best engine would have been the cdi, there is no doubt at all about it in my mind.

The restyling of the interior is good but the extra airbags for North America mean that OE cruise control cannot be had with paddle shifters, which is just pathetic, which smart Bean Counter said that they couldn't afford another pair of wires or a slight bit more bandwidth on the CANBus? This sort of design work is shoddy - CC is available with paddles in Europe and not having both here in the same car means that MBCanada will conclude that no-one wants CC because the paddles are so nice and no-one orders CC. Self-fulfilling prophesy. I have both in my old 450 cdis. OEM.

What can you do? Aside from dealing with the root problem (no choice in powertrains and afterthought engineering for North America), make the BRABUS Tailor-Made program known to your customers, let them see the British BRABUS Tailor-Made catalogues (I have one) and order a few specially finished customs (no, I don't mean 10 battleship grey edit10ns, ugliest colour ever, and hardtop only (!!!!) which is why they didn't sell) for customers, that would be a draw, having a couple of those around certain dealers would draw some positive attention, even though the prices would be in the mid-thirties. It would be easier to sell these as 102 HP BRABUS-engined cars. That car will do 0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds, which - considering the smart gearbox - is stunningly quick.

What else? Short of certifying new powertrains, how about offering a factory engine upgrade kit (turbo from Europe) - it should be bolt on + software only, the engine internals are identical, right down to the special "low" 10:1 compression ratio of the CDN/USA cars, which is identical to that of the European turbos.

Since M-B service is so damned expensive, offer free service for the duration of the base warranty. Your competition at Toyota charges $40 for an oil change. Enough said?

Short-term gimmicks in marketing will only take the car so far. The US campaign "against dumb" is a desperate move to stir some people up, but it will not add anything to sales.

MINI has three body styles now (more to come) and two powertrains (three if you count the JCW versions). If BMW can afford to offer dealer-installed upgrade kits and other powertrains, why can't Mercedes-Benz?

This is a problem with the M-B lineup too. The B and C should both have the 4 cylinder cdi engine options. Your competition has it (Audi A3) and the BMW 3er has diesel too although it's a high performance six. Get out of the rut of following the godforsaken US market and think for yourselves. If smart is going to have a future in Canada, I think what I wrote above is part of the solution. The other part is the expansion of the range, but not with rebadged Nissans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two misconceptions in Canada (& the US) regarding the smart are you can't drive it safely on the highway or in winter conditions.Doing demo drives on 400 series highways may help with the first.A smart winter driving course would solve the 2nd. In terms of ride & such, the factory smart suspension is greatly lacking, as is the transmission. In terms of solving this & increasing the car's appeal, something to consider is a dealership "driving package" for ~$2.5k for new smarts consisting of 16/17" f/r wheels, "sport" suspension [to lower the car and make it far more stable on uneven roads & in high winds] & engine remap [to give it a bit more oomph]. This sort of thing could be done at the dealership and wouldn't have to consist of Brabus components [which are overpriced here for what you get]. To do those upgrades after market costs alot more than $2k, as some of us can attest to, but I assume the dealership can put the "replaced" components into parts inventory as they will be "factory" new, thus reducing the cost to the new car buyer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two misconceptions in Canada (& the US) regarding the smart are you can't drive it safely on the highway or in winter conditions.

Doing demo drives on 400 series highways may help with the first.

A smart winter driving course would solve the 2nd.

Just an added thing to this pair of suggestions.

Being located in Maple, Highway 400 should be fairly close. A demo ride on that road (as brd suggested) would put the myths to bed about the car not being suitable for travelling on the 400 series highways.

As a dealer, you should have access to the DVD of the "smart Winter Expedition, January 26 - February 6, 2010". It wouldn't hurt to have this (or a copy of this) available for viewing by potential customers. Perhaps if you made a couple of copies so that someone who is really serious could take one home with him / her and view it at their leisure.

Just a thought.

Ron :bike:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MINI has three body styles now (more to come) and two powertrains (three if you count the JCW versions). If BMW can afford to offer dealer-installed upgrade kits and other powertrains, why can't Mercedes-Benz?This is a problem with the M-B lineup too. The B and C should both have the 4 cylinder cdi engine options. Your competition has it (Audi A3) and the BMW 3er has diesel too although it's a high performance six. Get out of the rut of following the godforsaken US market and think for yourselves. If smart is going to have a future in Canada, I think what I wrote above is part of the solution. The other part is the expansion of the range, but not with rebadged Nissans.

Mercedes is planning new smart models that will say true to the nature of smart. The 4 door vehicle that the U.S is getting next year won’t be coming to Canada.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nick,Good to see you back.Do you know about the smart ED lease program that is suppose t0 happen this fall. I am yet to see one in GVRD. Are they here yet?Eddy

Edited by FastEddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have visited your maple dealership 6 months ago when i was looking at buy a smart. i have to say the sales people in there turned me away from the place. no 1 would give me the time of day when i was there,dont know if coffee or leaving to go home was more important then A sale. but i guess buying a smart isnt what they really want to sale. so the most i got from them was a glossy flyer an a card an bye bye.so instead of buying a new 451 i took my money to a used car dealer over in woodbridge an gave him my money on a 450. so i think you need to look at whats happening on the inside 1st to as y your having problems selling smarts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have visited your maple dealership 6 months ago when i was looking at buy a smart. i have to say the sales people in there turned me away from the place. no 1 would give me the time of day when i was there,dont know if coffee or leaving to go home was more important then A sale. but i guess buying a smart isnt what they really want to sale. so the most i got from them was a glossy flyer an a card an bye bye.so instead of buying a new 451 i took my money to a used car dealer over in woodbridge an gave him my money on a 450. so i think you need to look at whats happening on the inside 1st to as y your having problems selling smarts.

:angry: I very sorry to hear that, there was no smart specialist at this location at that time. Again super sorry, Please bring your 450 here for service and we can chit chat about things we love and hate about our smarts :) .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nick,Good to see you back.Do you know about the smart ED lease program that is suppose t0 happen this fall. I am yet to see one in GVRD. Are they here yet?Eddy

Hi EddieI think all the Canadian ED are still at our Head office in T.O. I'm not to sure MB likes to keep us in the dark at times. I hear they are really nice to drive! I can't wait to test it out. I hope your enjoying your Brabus!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think making the servicing, repair and modding of smart cars more user friendly would help make it into a more attractive option for people considering buying a small car. Especially as smarts tend to appeal to people who like customizing their rides.Currently people have to rely on the advice of fellow smart owners, on forums like this and on websites created by enthusiasts, for information about how to maintain, fix or mod their cars. There should be complete service manuals, and an easy way to determine what all of the various OEM part numbers are, perhaps via an online data base and schematics. It would be great to have access to all of the OBD trouble codes as well.Thank you. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think making the servicing, repair and modding of smart cars more user friendly would help make it into a more attractive option for people considering buying a small car. Especially as smarts tend to appeal to people who like customizing their rides.Currently people have to rely on the advice of fellow smart owners, on forums like this and on websites created by enthusiasts, for information about how to maintain, fix or mod their cars. There should be complete service manuals, and an easy way to determine what all of the various OEM part numbers are, perhaps via an online data base and schematics. It would be great to have access to all of the OBD trouble codes as well.Thank you. :)

Good post. I have MB service manuals for two of my old MBs. But I don't think they exist for the W210 (E320) and smart. In the USA, MBUSA provide free access to their on-line parts catalogue (EPC) and it has diagrams and all the part numbers. They also offer paid access to WIS which provides workshop procedures. But they don't cover the smart. In Europe and UK, there are similar services and they do cover the smart. Not sure if individuals can access them there.But in Canada, we have NOTHING from MB Canada - not for smarts or Mercedes. Why are owners in other countries provided with this information, and not Canadians?? Edited by Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because Canadian consumer protection laws are so weak, they can get away with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Europe and UK, there are similar services and they do cover the smart. Not sure if individuals can access them there.

"To purchase access to WIS, ASRA and TIPS you must belong to an authorized group of persons as defined in the BER (EU Block Exemption Regulation for the sales and marketing of motor vehicles). If it is determined that you are not a member of an authorized group of persons, we reserve the right to block your access."It appears that Canadians need not apply.. in fact you can't, as Canada isn't an available option on the registration form page. If you want to encourage sales here, opening this service up to Canadians would help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nick,Good to see you back.Do you know about the smart ED lease program that is suppose t0 happen this fall. I am yet to see one in GVRD. Are they here yet?Eddy

The eagle has landed. Edited by FastEddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

    Chatbox
    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More