ATLANTA—Mercedes sent out a press release Monday announcing the Smart brand of vehicles is being discontinued in the United States. We asked for more information about the decision, and were invited to their U.S. Headquarters in Atlanta.
“We realized we would have to make a decision after a visit from some of our colleagues from Stuttgart. One of them commented on how large roads and parking spaces were in the U.S.”
“We told him that yeah, we had never really thought about that.”
Then we asked why this vehicle was marketed as fuel efficient when it actually only got 35mpg highway, “Camrys get better fuel economy and can seat 5 people comfortably. Also they have space for more than a stack of term papers and a couple of ties.”
The man looked extremely apathetic as he responded.
“We don’t really don’t an answer for that, either.”
We then informed him that this vehicle isn’t cheap, it’s still a Mercedes, and still expensive to fix. Even if it is actually 70% Renault Twingo.
He asked what our point was.
“How is that smart?” we responded.
“Well it isn’t… We know it isn’t”
“Then how do you manage to sell any of these cars to anybody?”
“You can reference our first figure for that information.”
He passed a document across the table.
We flipped to the next page to see detailed information from consumers. 50% of consumers regretted purchasing the product, and the other 50% also did but would not admit it publicly.
Another portion of the document contained feedback from prospective buyers. The proliferation of crossovers seemed to have a profound effect on these responses.
“Like, it’s cute but it’s not an SUV so I can’t, like, take it offroad if I need to”
“What if it snows? Does this have snow mode?”
“Where do I put all my stuff If I have to move all of my belongings in one trip?”
We looked up from the document after reading a lot of similar information.
“Whats up with the rear suspension on these cars? We just kinda wanted to know.”
The man paused for a few seconds.
“We just thought it was cool.”
“And the 3 lug wheels?”