China hosts 1st ever smart times with Kobe
Updated: 2012-08-20 16:21
By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Mercedes-Benz executives with Kobe Bryant in smart times China. Photos provided to China Daily
Towering NBA star Kobe Bryant has returned to China to once again lend his larger-than-life image to the diminutive smart car brand.
One year ago, Bryant joined forces with smart to roll out the wildly successful "Big, in the city" concept, a campaign designed to illustrate a single idea: smart is an innovative solution for future urban mobility.
On Sunday, on the heels of leading Team US to Olympic gold, Bryant came to the international metropolis of Shanghai to bring the campaign to new heights.
At the same time, 50 smart owners from across China brought their smart cars to Shanghai for China's first smart times, a celebration of the growing community of smart enthusiasts.
And China's smart community is growing faster than ever - smart delivered its 10,000th car of 2012 on Sunday, three months earlier than its 10,000th car of 2011.
And if that's not enough, Bryant helped smart launch its all-new sharpred special edition in China. Priced between 146,288 and 196,288 yuan, the ultra-cool red-and-black sharpred might just be too hot to handle.
"smart is an urban mobility pioneer and has seen big success in China since entering the market only three years ago," said Klaus Maier, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd.
"In just the first seven months of this year, we delivered 9,737 smart cars, representing a year-on-year increase of 55 percent. Furthermore, we have already surpassed 10,000 units in annual sales for 2012 - a milestone we've reached 3 months earlier than last year," Maier said.
"We are thrilled by these impressive sales figures, which have made China the third largest market for smart, and we are confident that our diverse product lineup, continuous network development and innovative marketing initiatives will attract more customers and drive even greater success in the future," he added.
"In China, smart has attracted a community of individuals seeking a creative and joyful life, and with Bryant, smart has an ambassador representing this community very well," said Bjorn Hauber, executive vice-president of sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd.
"Bryant's passion, agility, intelligence and creativity blends beautifully with smart's core values. Both Bryant and smart are legendary in modern urban life, making them the perfect match!"
First held in Austria 11 years ago, smart times has evolved into a series of unique gatherings enjoyed by smart lovers around the world. Now, smart times is being held in China for the first time, giving Chinese smart owners and fans the opportunity to share their love of smart through this fun and unconventional celebration.
At the same time, smart enthusiasts marveled at smart's milestone concept cars on display - the smart forvision, smart forspeed, smart roadster coupe and smart crossblade, four cars that inspire dialogue about the present and future of urban mobility.
By putting together futuristic design models with technology related to energy efficiency, lightweight design and temperature management, these concept cars are trailblazers in the development of sustainable urban transportation.
Meanwhile, smart story also engaged its fans on the three most talked-about smart topics: safety, environmental protection and space.
The highlight of the gala night was Bryant's dramatic entrance with the all-new sharpred, a striking black and fiery red special edition so exclusive that only 700 will be sold in China.
The sharpred's interior mirrors the unique eye-catching exterior with black Nappa leather upholstery and red stitching, giving customers the ultimate personalized luxury experience.
With its avant-garde color scheme and advanced environmental protection and energy-saving technology, the sharpred is the latest addition to smart's exciting product portfolio.
The smart's extensive product portfolio, featuring nine diverse models, has something for everyone, from the entry-level smart coupe pure to the ultra-high-end smart BRABUS xClusive.
Fans of smart can choose between coupe or cabriolet options and three engine choices.
From the first-time car buyer to the experienced luxury connoisseur, every smart fan can find the perfect smart for his or her lifestyle.
Furthermore, the smart's 2012 "facelift", launched at the Xi'an Auto Show this June, frees people from the monotony of routine with an even more dynamic look and a wider range of brilliant colors than ever before.
The chrome-colored logo is now positioned directly in the black radiator grille. The air inlets under the number plate have been combined into a single unit, lending the smart 2012 a bolder appearance.
The new, optionally available LED daytime driving lights are now arranged horizontally. The smart 2012's more stylish interior combined with its scaled, agile nature bring drivers pure comfort and pleasure as they seamlessly navigate city life. In addition, a large 7-inch touch-screen navigation system now comes standard on the smart Passion model, allowing smart owners to truly live city life boundlessly.
On the night of the gala, three of China's most dynamic young artists - singer Xin, photographer Chen Man and designer Zhang Chi - shared their stories of how smart helped them experience city life from a new and surprising perspective.
Where there is smart, there is always a surprise!
So look out for Bryant - one may just spot him in his smart this summer in China, where the smart "Big, in the city" campaign continues to bring big excitement to driving, big wisdom to safety and environmental protection, and big joy to the urban lifestyle.