In conversation with Jesper L. Petersen, CEO smart Sweden
Jesper L. Petersen - CEO smart Sweden AB.
“I have been connected to the smart brand since the very beginning – and now it is time to open a new chapter: Let’s get the Swedes excited about the smart #1 and introduce the new premium smart SUV!
Jesper L. Petersen began his career in 1991 when working for Mercedes-Benz. After having held various positions from Regional, Training, Product, Fleet and finally Sales Manager Passenger Cars in Denmark within the company, he took on the project of introducing smart in Denmark and Sweden in 2001.
As of Fall 2022, he is back at smart and is helping to write its next successful chapter with the all-new smart model. We wanted to know more about his ideas, future actions and the role of e-mobility for the Swedes.
5 questions to Jesper, an automotive enthusiast to the core and of course our new CEO for smart in Sweden.
1. What actions are planned in Sweden to enter the market?
Currently we are in an exciting and eventful phase: Setting up the all-new headquarters in Malmoe, hiring great people, building a Swedish smart team and developing a sufficient agent network across the market are just a few actions that are taking place just now. While we are establishing processes to prepare everything as well as we can for the pre-order in the summer and the final market entry of the smart #1 in autumn, we have already presented the car to the Swedish market for the first time early this month.
The smart #1 made its debut at the Stockholm eCar expo, Scandinavia's largest electric car show, where it was introduced to not only media, but also customers. Being able to present our new premium compact SUV in such a prestigious environment was a fantastic experience for us and I hope many more successful events like this will follow.
2. Sweden is considered a pioneer in EVs. What benefits will the smart #1 offer Swedes?
The Swedes have believed in the future of EV mobility from the very beginning, so we do not have to start from zero. Sweden is actually among the top three EV markets in Europe, so the Swedish market is obviously well aware of all the benefits that come along with the transition to an EV. In addition, the Swedes already know smart as a brand.
Nevertheless, we still must let people know about the new smart approach, which is a fantastic opportunity. With these new products, we will be able to reach a much broader target group. All the USPs that come with the new compact SUV, such as the redefinition of space, the futuristic design and the amazing entertainment system, have great potential to excite new customers. Not only will people living in urban environments have a closer look at the smart #1, but also families and drivers that live in suburban and rural areas.
The new all-electric smart #1 is ready for wherever life takes you.
3. What feature do you personally like best about the smart #1?
I love that the smart #1 is a real compact premium SUV. When you sit inside with all the features and great details, you can really feel the spaciousness of the car and it is amazing. You will know what I am talking about once you experience it yourself – believe me!
Apart from that, the digital experience around the vehicle itself is truly fascinating. To have a single app that includes all the info I need about is just so convenient. Being able to see the current location of my car, access smart services, find the nearest charging points and even pre-control certain features like heating or seat position is something I am personally really enthused about. Let’s not forget it includes the digital key as well, which makes it possible to share the car with family and friends – without having to meet up and exchange an actual key. To me, this is brilliant. And when I say family and brilliant in the same sentence, highlighting that there are three seats with ISOFIX, one being in the front seat, seems quite obvious as well.
4. How do you see your role regarding the future of e-mobility?
I have the honor to introduce the new smart to the Swedish market and open its way for all future models that will follow.
This makes me enthusiastic as I have been connected to the smart brand since the very beginning – and now it is time to open a new chapter. I must admit: the more I drive the new smart, the more I kind of fall in love with it and all its great features. I know it sounds a bit ambitious, but really, the smart #1 has great potential to become the new brand lover car in Sweden and across all Europe. So, let’s say and to conclude: my role is to get the Swedes excited about the smart #1.
5. In your field of expertise, what are the trends, opportunities and challenges in 2023? And how is smart able to fulfil these?
One market trend for sure is EVs and green mobility itself! The EV way of life is already very much established in Sweden, which gives us a great opportunity to place the all-new smart. One challenge though is the still not developed infrastructure for EV in the more rural areas of Sweden, but the situation here is improving on a daily base.
In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges our industry is facing right now is to take away the fear of customers when it comes to charging and the range of EVs. But soon supercharging is not only accessible along all major roads, more and more forward-thinking companies are looking into this topic as well. Some retailers, for example, are investing in supercharging facilities, so smart drivers can probably soon shop while charging from 10 to 80 percent in just half an hour – thanks to 150DC/22AC charging as a standard.
Well, these are prospects we are for sure looking forward to. Thank you, Jesper, for your time.
Head of Public Relations and Communications smart Europe GmbH