“Short People” (#1213)
SynopsisIn 1978 when Academy Award-winning composer Randy Newman reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his tongue-in-cheek song about short people, the "little cars that go beep, beep, beep" he said they drive, it was nothing more than a creation of his fertile imagination. How could Mr. Newman know that the automotive industry was already hard at work designing versions of his imaginary little cars? Yet those vehicles wouldn't take the leap from designs to drivable machines for another two decades when Daimler released what it called "The smart car" and they started to "beep, beep, beep" all over Europe. But as cute and economical as those cars were, there wasn't a market for them in America...that is until now.
2008 saw Automotive Icon Roger Penske bring the smart car to the U.S. shores for the first time. His Penske Automotive Group struck a deal with Daimler and has opened up more than 70 "smart centers" -- or dealerships -- around America, and so far, the reaction has been overwhelming. Before Daimler even started delivering cars to the centers earlier this year, Penske had more than 30,000 orders. Everyone from Publishing Moguls to High School Seniors have taken to Smart. The question is how long will the car stay hot?
The man in charge of those predictions as well as everything smart-related from Connecticut to California visits Autoline this week. Dave Schembri, the President of smart USA at first joins John on set to talk about Smart and its U.S. strategy. And then Dave takes over as he gives John a tour of smart USA's unique headquarters building in suburban Detroit that is built as an appendage to one of those 70+ smart centers.
So get ready to learn about the "little car that goes beep, beep, beep" from the big guy himself.
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