Mar 1, 2016
Dr Annette Winkler, 56, has been at the helm of the smart product division since September 2010. We spoke to the graduate in business administration about the successes of the new smart generation and her very own personal smart fortwo cabrio.
The closed smarts enjoy cult status in their own right and are far more than just a car for their owners. Is the smart fortwo cabrio taking this to the limit?
Yes, the smart fortwo cabrio is the "hippest" variant of our new generation – the icon of the icon, as it were. Functional, emotional and innovative – these are the three core values of smart which are embodied by every one of our vehicles, with the emphasis varying according to the individual vehicle. The new smart fortwo cabrio focuses on emotionality – this is a vehicle which places a very special emphasis on joie de vivre.
How would you describe the target group of the smart fortwo cabrio?
smart drivers are "young at heart" – and this is particularly true in this instance. Our smart fortwo cabrio will especially delight the particularly fun-loving members of our clientele who are keen to demonstrate this "smart spirit" because it chimes in perfectly with their outlook on life. We are also sure to tap into completely new target groups, however, who are seeking an alternative to the many conventional cars that are around.
smart's strengths also include the extensive scope for individualisation. How would you configure your very own personal smart fortwo cabrio?
In view of the vast range of individualisation options, it is no easy matter putting one's own smart fortwo cabrio together (laughs). And the available budget and timeframe also play a role, of course. In the short term I would go for a smart fortwo cabrio featuring one of the new, expressive colours for the tridion safety cell, such as jupiter red. Plus bodypanels in white or black – I think these are beautiful combinations. Then I would have nothing against an even more exclusive touch – a smart BRABUS tailormade model, such as many of our customers are looking forward to.
The smart fortwo cabrio is the third body version of the new model generation which was launched in November 2014. How are the new models faring a good year after their market launch – in Germany, Europe and worldwide?
We are very satisfied – worldwide sales from January to December 2015 totalled 120,000 units – up by around 33 percent on 2014. In China and the USA we only launched the new smart generation in the second half of 2015 – we are looking forward to further growth from these markets, and from the launch of online sales in Italy in December 2015. And we've no shortage of new ideas.