In one of the most ambitious moves yet by any car manufacturer or regional distributor, smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., is putting the power of creative expression into the hands of all smart fortwo owners with a new program that allows for vehicle customization.
“smart Expressions” offers an unlimited palette of paint color choices and a variety of body wrap designs—the latter are vinyl wraps from 3M which come with a 3 year warranty and are available in either matte or gloss—both of which allow smart fortwo owners to personalize their car so that it’s likely these owners won’t see another one like theirs on the road. Custom exterior colors and wrap designs can be ordered through any smart center dealer in the smart USA network.
Six basic colors are available at no extra charge while ninety-three other colors offered range in price from $1,550 to $1,950. If those colors won’t do it for you and you’d like to have smart USA do their best at matching the color from your paint swatch, Pantone® chip or favorite retro poster, your smart car can sport a completely customizable color through their “Any Color You Want” program.
This sort of programmatic approach to enabling owners to personalize their rides is intriguing and is a model of mass customization we’ll be watching closely. What is possibly even more interesting are the possibilities for dramatically higher levels of personalization through the involvement of third party customizers.
One such customization shop already delivering vinyl wraps is Smart Car Skins, a Florida “car skins” company. They describe how easy it is to buy and use their skins on their website:
Simply pick out your designs and place your order. We’ll take a new set of body panels, straight from the dealership, apply your Smart Car Skins design to them and ship them directly to you. You can change them out yourself or have a local mechanic help you. It only takes about two to three hours to completely change the look and design of your Smart Car.
When you take your original panels off, you can either store them, trade them or sell them on ebay. You might even want to send them back to us and have a second set of smart car Skins added. You could change your look every few months!
smart USA has clearly delivered on a strategy of personalization that is sure to catch hold and makes me wonder what sort of designs we’ll be seeing coming down the road in the future!