Smart brings its Euro-style driver perks to Canada
February 14, 2014 | Russ Martin | Comments
Smart Canada has launched an program of owner benefits for its Canadian drivers including discount parking, car rentals and electric charging stations.
Richard Trevisan, director of Smart Canada, said the add-on services are the brand’s key differentiator in the sub-compact car segment, of which it currently has a 2% share of in Canada.
“We see this as a very important benefit and diffentiator,” Trevisan said. “We have the smallest car available in the world – that’s already a big differentiator versus our competitors, but we want to emphasize the advantage of using Smart further [through the add-ons].”
Smart Canada currently has 63 parking spots available across 17 lots in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal that are specially sized for the car and available at a discounted rate only to owners. It also has four electric car charging locations across the three markets and plans to expand both programs throughout 2014.
In response to concerns that owners will need larger vehicles for luggage-heavy events such as moving or vacationing, the brand even brokered a deal with Enterprise Rent-a-Car to offer discount rates for Smart Canada drivers.
In the European markets where the Mercedes-Benz-owned auto brand originated, the compan has long offered bonus perk such as discounted car washes, parking and even train tickets.
Trevisan said the add-ons have a great echo marketing effect for Smart Canada through word-of-mouth, especially on social media. “Through social media, we see our customers telling their friends and community groups that by buying Smart they’re getting an improvement in their city lifestyle,” he said.
In lieu of a brand campaign, Smart Canada is focusing first on communicating to its current owners about the add-on program through customer relationship management tools and point-of-sale materials at dealerships that owners will see when they go in for tune ups.
It’s also focusing on the program at trade shows, including a stop last month at the Montréal International Auto Show, executions over the next two weeks in Toronto and the Canadian International Autoshow and at March’s Vancouver International Auto Show.
The brand made replicas of its small parking spaces to show at their booths, as well as an airport trolly to market the Enterprise rental offer and a soiled Smart Canada model on-site that says “Wash me, I’m dirty,” to advertise the discount car wash add-on.