In conversation with Sarah Lamboj, CEO smart Austria Automotive GmbH
Over 400 km range, 22kW AC charging and great driving experience – this is what the new smart #1 stands for. However, before you see the finished car on the streets, the vehicle goes through a long process. From research and development to marketing, many talented and motivated employees are behind the product. smart Austria CEO Sarah Lamboj tells us today how she experiences the process.
5 questions to Sarah Lamboj, who joined smart in August 2021 after 10 years of experience in the mobility industry and has since enriched the company with her expertise.
1. The market launch of the smart #1 in Austria is scheduled for autumn 2023. How do you experience the setup of such a huge process?
“Launching a completely new product as a new OEM in Austria is an amazing journey. We got the chance to build everything from scratch, hire talented and motivated employees, define new processes and set up great partnerships.”
2. Are you ready to finally see the smart #1 on the streets and what are you most looking forward to in 2023?
“Seeing the first #1 on the street in Austria is my personal target. This means we successfully launched and brought this futuristic car to Austria. After two years of preparation, we are looking forward to finally selling cars to our customers.”
3. What makes the Austrian market special compared to other European markets?
“Austria is a rather small country with Vienna as main and only big city. The rest of the country is characterized by mostly rural areas and mountains. The smart #1’s different lines accommodate city as well as countryside lifestyles. Austria is seeing promising development in terms of new electric passenger car registrations. Compared to EU average, Austria is placed in the top ten with its 15% share of new electric car registrations.”
4. smart was the first car brand to completely transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to BEVs. Did this pioneer status influence you on making the decision to work for smart? Or what else was it that inspired you personally?
“For ten years I’ve been working in the mobility sector with different focus areas. Mobility for me is a fundamental right, every person has a multitude of needs that must be considered. In recent years, sustainability became more and more relevant. Therefore, offering a fully electric car that covers several mobility needs fits me perfectly well. No matter if you are single or have a family, or mainly travel in city or countryside, smart has a solution to offer. So yes, the product as well as the vision of smart were major inspirations for me to join this amazing company.”
5. Before working for smart Europe, you were in the multi-modal industry. How does this experience shape your perception on customer needs for buying / owning a car?
“Mobility is multi-faceted. Everyone of us has varying needs to get from A to B. Especially in bigger cities we can choose out of a variety of mobility options and that is where sharing has become popular. Nevertheless, owning a car can be as reasonable as sharing. Having your own car means reliable access, freedom and flexibility while also enabling privacy during your travels. Especially in areas where we face a lack of public transport and sharing coverage, individual cars are a necessity. Sustainable individual transport must be accessible for those who need it in their daily lives.”
Thank you very much for the insights, Sarah.