Do you know about Smart cars? It carries only two people, but is sold for ten times the cost of a motorcycle. Even the cheapest Smart car model runs NT$655,000. With a ridiculously short length of only 2.69 meters and an engine less than 1000 CCs in size, this tiny, slow car is often jokingly referred to as an “electric wheelchair”. However, recently the company produced the largest City Car in history. What was the motivation behind this?
When Smart cars first came to market in 1998, it emphasized a miniature vehicle suitable for urban transportation. It is easy to navigate, park, and saves fuel. Nothing about the car has ever been big. Against market trends, the company recently created a film for the launch of a Big Smart car, not just larger than regular Smart cars but much bigger than any sedan.
▲An enormous Smart car!
According to the video, “Thinking about a new generation, we realized: if you want to bring the ultimate city car to the next level, it’s not enough to think big. You need to act big.” “The new smart car is so big, you can see it practically from everywhere. “You never have to look for your parking place again.”
▲It’s hard to overlook the sheer existence of such a large vehicle.
You don’t need any air conditioning inside the car. Thanks to its huge interior, warm air automatically rises up under the rooftop while the temperature in the rest of the vehicle stays comfortably cool. Evolution shows that the human race is getting taller with each generation. The new smart car can easily accommodate people’s needs as they continue to grow taller with evolution. How big cars make U-turns? Why make U-turns? Just drive backwards.
▲The huge interior and natural air flow eliminates the need for air conditioning???
“Big cars have a high fuel consumption. We can’t change the laws of physics, but we can irritate them. The new Smart creates an enormous wind shadow so that following vehicles can drive without any air resistance. In other words, the new Smart reduces the fuel consumption of many other cars. We call it ECO-Empathy.”
▲One advantage of being big is blocking the wind for everyone!
It’s apparent that this commercial should be viewed with a grain of salt. The ridiculous largeness of the car helps us contemplate the advantages of being small. For example, small cars are easier to park, small cars are easier to navigate throughout the city, small cars conserve more fuel…
You could probably think of an array of other advantages. Smart was not the first to market this train of thought. This advertisement appeared in 1959 for the Volkswagen Beetle. The Beetle was compact, and it did not win because of size. It was quite a challenge to compete with other American cars which advertised superior size when everything was large in the US market at the time including cars, roads, and even people. However, Volkswagen was able to carve out its share of the market with the Think small print advertisement.
In that era of traditional media, the advertisement could only ask the public to use their imagination and “think small”. In today’s digital age, it’s easier to simply demonstrate this in a video. They created an enormous car and drove it around so you could experience the true meaning of “big nonsense”.
How Did Smart Turn its Speed Setback into an Advantage?
In the past, brands would never expose their shortcomings. No matter what the truth was, they would hide it from consumers by making a commercial about the Smart car’s speed. Not only did Smart not do this, it raced against three vehicles known for their speed, the Ford Mustang, Audi, and Porsche. Of course, the Smart failed miserably when its speed was compared to each one of these vehicles. However, the clever thing about this commercial was that the rules of the competition were changed in the last round. The results depended on not top speed, but reacceleration after stopping for a red light in the city.
That’s right. In the city, you don’t need a top speed of 250 km/h. You’re the winner if you take off faster than another car as soon as the light turns green.
Know Who You Are and Stand Strong. You Can Be a Giant Too
Smart did not fall into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses, which is true of many Taiwanese brands. That is to say, many brands often forget their own identity and simply try to match the specifications of products from other brands. They keep adding items until eventually they lose sight of their vision yet still don’t win out against the competition. On the contrary, Smart is aware of its own strengths and weaknesses. It knows it cannot fulfill every person’s demands, but Smart expresses its advantages loud and clear, in ways the consumer can understand.
Sometimes, confidence is what makes one a giant, regardless of size.