Sunday, November 4, 2007

Smart SmartCar!


I am in Los Angeles today. Yesterday, a friend and I drove out to Venice and saw something really amazing.

SmartCar has built a showhouse for its North American launch that is truly something to behold.
Located on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, the SmartHouse is a fabulous new approach to selling cars.

You see, what they've done is design this amazing space, a sort of Danish-Modern, Dwell magazine, sustaino-fab hybrid, and integrated the cars into the structure. They built an image of the perfect hipster house/life and are showing you how this car is an integral part of it. Everywhere I looked I saw something that impressed me. The whole thing was just so darned SMART.

Let's look at some of the highlights!

Here's the exterior. Not too in your face, just sort of letting you know.

You walk inside, and right by the front door is a FRIENDLY LADY behind a clean, white booth, who can tell you all about the SmartCar. They've got one parked in the front room, but I forgot to pic it.
She dropped some creamy numbers on me, like the SmartCar gets 40 mpg, is 80% recyclable, and has a starting cost of $12,000. Diesel and all-electric come out next year. I got into the SmartCar and was amazed at its interior space. The roof of the car is tinted glass, which lets you see the sky, and clouds, and birds.

I sort of had to use the bathroom, which was no problem here, as they seemed to have at least two on every level. And in the bathroom was a funny little graphic which I thought very smart. Isn't the station wagon the one from National Lampoon's Vacation? Methinks it is.

On the second floor was another nice lady who offered me a cappuccino and a cookie. There were maybe five people working there, but they didn't stick out at all, they weren't wearing SmartCar gear or nametags. The whole vibe was extremely welcoming and unobtrusive.

They had the Roomba running around, cleaning the floors, and generally being clean and tech-y. I think they had one every level. I was down on my knees, scooting all over, trying to take this picture, but no one seemed to mind.

Everywhere you looked were little areas for sitting and hanging. Lovely furniture throughout, like this delightful shelving unit which reminded me of a bee-hive.

I kept thinking: "I could happily live here. This could be MY life." Which is exactly what they were going for.

All the art was pretty decent. They had worked the SmartCar into some of the paintings, but never in a way that made you cringe.

In the garage they had a SmartCar body, with all the safety features highlighted. The flatscreen behind the body ran a movie loop showing SmartCar crash tests from multiple directions. Genius. The crash test dummies seemed safe and sound.

See? Throw your boards on the roof-rack and you can be out shredding some waves in no time! And you get some darn fine mileage on your way to the beach.

Door color options. I believe these are easy to switch out, so you can change your car day to day.

Here's a pic of the test drive area from an upstairs room.

One of the many SmartCars to interact with. This one had a great orange interior.

All in all, I really liked the care and attention that SmartCar has put into the SmartHouse Venice. They've created a perfect setting for their little jewel of a car.

They've also tapped into a very clever method to advertise, which is: Make me feel like a partner and a guest, not like a CONSUMER. I came away knowing a great deal more about the SmartCar, and more importantly, feeling very good about the people in charge of the SmartCar brand.

These cats are being very Smart.*

If you find yourself in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend having a gander at the SmartHouse Venice.
It is open until January.

SmartHouse Venice, CA
1319 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

*except for the fact that they HAVE NO WEBSITE! C'mon yo, it's twenty-oh-seven! Gimme a url.

1 comment:

~ KATE ~ said...

Hey! I work at the smarthouse. Sweet blog post! Thanks!

Anyways, you're right...the house doesn't have a URL, but smartcar does: .

There's info about the house on there as well! :)