It’s Tradition To Be A Bit Radical

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Community, Events, Family, Madison, News | Posted on 26-06-2014

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If someone asked you, “hey, want to go watch the Madison Radicals?” You would probably assume you had just been invited to witness a protest on the Capitol Square. You, however, would likely be mistaken. The Madison Radicals are, in fact, Madison’s very own professional Ultimate (Frisbee) team!RadFans

Professional ultimate is in its infancy in the US, with the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) only in its third year, and only the second season that Madison’s team has been competing. However, as many of Smart Motor’s loyal customers, fans, employees, and followers know, we’re big fans of staying ahead of the curve and checking out the latest and greatest before others have the chance. Which is why we decided to support and sponsor these high-flying local athletes, the Madison Radicals. If you’re one of the majority in the area who have never been to, and maybe even never heard of, a Radicals game, I suggest you check it out.LayoutBid

For those unfamiliar with the sport of “Ultimate,” it is an amalgamation of “better-known” sports; combining elements of football, basketball, hockey and soccer with the gravity-defying, childhood toy, the flying disc. You can check out the official Ultimate page for game play, rules, and regulations. The only thing you really need to know about Radicals Ultimate is that it’s F-U-N, fun! The atmosphere at games bring together some insanely athletic players, a goofy and enthusiastic crowd, outlandish intermission entertainment, and delicious local food and drink, all at the very cool historic Breese Stevens field on East Washington Ave.

SkyVSchillI’ve been fortunate to make several of this season’s games and neither the Radicals, nor their fans, disappoint. Well-executed offensive and defensive schemes tend to leave opponents in the proverbial dust, while a well-rounded crowd of 20-something goofballs, proud parents, and friendly local families pour on encouraging applause and chants. Several of the team’s sponsors engage the crowd with fun, between-quarters activities, including the Roman Candle’s pizza toss and the Great Dane’s costumed obstacle race. We at Smart Motors have yet to concoct an exciting halftime event, but, hey, we like suggestions.

As I mentioned, Smart Motors is not opposed to jump on an opportunity early or take a few risks once in a while, whether we’re investing in an Express Lube renovation, buying a body shop, or sponsoring a promising new sports team. Over the last 105 years, that strategy has worked out pretty well for Smart Motors. When you strive to be the biggest and best, sometimes you just have to do things that may seem a bit… well, radical!TeamNFans

 

Check out the Radical’s Facebook page to see more awesome pics!

 

 

– Matt Rice

Social Media Coordinator

Smart Motors Toyota & Scion

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Supporting Girls On The Run

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Community, Employees, Events, Health, Madison, News, Youth | Posted on 16-06-2014

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Two of our own employees take part in the 5k run

Recently, on Sunday, June 8, we proudly sponsored an event that aims to educate and empower young girls; Girls on the Run. This growing organization offers opportunities for young girls to learn about themselves and each other, gain mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as give back through a community project. A 10-week course of training, learning, and growing culminates in a fun 5K run, like the event this last weekend.

Representing Smart Motors at the event were employees Celia Kaiser and Nancy Lorrig. Both women ran the 5K race in support of local girls. Celia was impressed by “all of the support from families and friends that were there.” With nearly 900 girls participating, and nearly every Madison area elementary school represented, there was certainly an excellent turnout. “I was shocked by how many spectators there were,” said Celia. Our Scion Manager, Donnie Taylor, who was at the event to cheer on and support his daughter, expressed similar sentiment, saying, “ I was surprised by the number of people!”

The opportunity to support this event and organization is important to the success of our business, and other local businesses. Like many local, family owned businesses, we measure our success not only by our income or ability to grow, but also by the impact that we have in our community.  One of the tenants of the GOTR curriculum is “My community begins with me,” which we at Smart Motors certainly relate to.  Supporting organizations that can enhance the health and education of our local youth is an opportunity for us to contribute to our vibrant and welcoming community.

– Matt Rice

Social Media Coordinator

Smart Motors Toyota & Scion

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Toyota President’s Award

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Awards, Car Care, Car Maintenance, Community, Employees, Madison, News | Posted on 23-04-2014

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Toyota’s President’s Award is a highly regarded distinction that is bestowed upon dealerships who excel in all facets of their operations.IMG_0675

Recognition as a President’s Award winner signifies that a dealership has shown not just high sales performance, but has provided outstanding customer service throughout sales and service transactions. These Award winning dealerships display high service retention rates and employ a variety of Toyota Certified staff among their sales and service representatives. We at Smart Motors have recently been awarded the Toyota’s President’s Award for 2013.

 

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Smart Toyota has earned the prestigious President’s Award seven years in a row since 2007. What does that mean to the average shopper looking for a new vehicle or service center? It means that our customers are happy customers! We’ve met and exceeded expectations far more often than not, and have given thousands of customers good reason to return to our business. The award shows that our staff is knowledgeable and friendly and that, company wide, our commitment to customer satisfaction continues through the life of a customer’s vehicle, not the length of their visit.

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Smart Express Lube – Remodeled and Reopen

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Car Care, Car Maintenance, Driving, Madison, Service | Posted on 27-02-2014

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After nearly 4 months of destruction and subsequent reconstruction, the Smart Motors Express Lube is back to full-speed! As an “Express” lube facility, timeliness is essential. Our recently renovated no-appointment Express Lube facility has practically doubled in size, with literally twice as many service bays and a larger and more comfortable and convenient guest lounge.

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The reasoning behind the renovation was the aforementioned essential: timeliness! Our service customer base grows steadily every year and our hard-working Express Lube employees were becoming limited by their facilities and equipment, causing prolonged visits for our customers. Adding four additional bays to the four existing bays, all complete with the necessary equipment to perform routine oil and filter changes, tire rotation and repair, and a variety of other related services, will provide the staff with the space and tools necessary to quickly and conveniently serve our incoming guests.

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What has become somewhat routine for us here at Smart Motors in recent years, this substantial project was deemed essential for our continued growth, with long-term benefits greatly outweighing some short-term setbacks and challenges. The expanded Express Lube is sure to offer the outstanding service that Smart Motors customers have come to expect, combined with convenient no-schedule maintenance and lots of practical amenities that make for comfortable visits. The best part? Now we can accommodate even more guests and be introduced to new customers.

 

Whether you’re due for your next oil change, or have yet to experience Smart Motors’ award-winning service, come check out the newly expanded Express Lube.

 

 

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Express Yourself – Car Accessories Can Add Personality and Value

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Driving | Posted on 23-08-2013

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In a world of monogrammed golf balls, bedazzled cell-phones, and, of course, custom sub sandwiches, it’s easy to see that people want their possessions to be their very own, both in identity and functionality. This is equally true when it comes to our vehicles. We’ve come a long way since Henry Ford declared, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” and the myriad options and accessories available to today’s car buyers allow them to ensure that their vehicle is one-of-a-kind.

 

Like any reputable car dealer, Smart Motors strives to ensure the utmost satisfaction of each new car buyer, and in their efforts to do so, provides customers with a multitude of add-ons and options. Although quite different from the auto customization shops oft seen on M-TV programming, Smart and their partners offer a range of practical products to enhance the appearance, functionality, and even the longevity of vehicles.

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Many drivers aim to enhance or personalize the look of their vehicle with accessories, and Smart Motors can definitely assist in this venture. From wheels, shift knobs, and body moldings to window tint and customer leather seating, we’ve got what you need to make your car unique. However, many of the accessories we offer provide benefits far beyond looks. Buyers who wish to make their vehicle easier or more comfortable to use will appreciate items like side steps, remote engine starters, and even entertainment systems, while outdoor enthusiasts can find a variety of sports equipment racks and options to add to their ride. Finally, Smart offers a suite of products aimed to protect your

IMG_0398vehicle, adding longevity and value. Items like 3Ms Scotchgard® interior protectant, SkipChips protective body wrap, and Diamon-Fusion® glass protectant all help buyers safeguard their investment.

While you research and shop for your next vehicle, keep in mind that, although the “perfect” vehicle is hard to find, it can often be created. If the right mix of options doesn’t appear to be available in the model you desire, consider researching the vast library of extras available to you through auto manufacturers, dealers, and their partners. Smart Motors goes to great lengths to ensure that prospective customers have access to accessory information. Shelves stocked with product brochures are complimented by an impressive showroom that has current models outfitted with many of the post-production extras. The Smart website, smarttoyota.com, also has a helpful link to an accessories listing page. http://www.igaccessories.com/smartmotors/  With the wealth of information available, it’s easy to find the perfect accoutrement to your new carriage.

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Like a custom tailored suit, a car that fits you “just right” is sure to be appreciated for it’s style and functionality. As you navigate the car-buying waters, remember that you can get what you want in a vehicle, even if it doesn’t appear to be standard equipment.

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Hybrids offer “best value” for new-car buyers

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Community, Hybrids, News | Posted on 03-06-2013

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Toyota Prius tops the list, costing half as much as an average car to operate

President Obama’s Inaugural address emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change dovetails with reports of rising sales of hybrid vehicles and a recent Consumer Reports study suggesting that hybrids offer the best value for those buying a new vehicle, with the Toyota Prius ranking No. 1.

CR (Consumer Reports) estimates that the Prius costs owners 49 cents per mile — less than half the cost of operating an average car.

Americans in the heartland are keeping pace or pulling ahead of politicians and reviewers in recognizing the importance and value of conserving energy. At the Wisconsin’s oldest automotive vehicle dealer, Smart Motors, hybrids account for 40% of the dealership’s new car sales. Compare that to 2008, when only 25.2% of the dealership’s car sales came from hybrid vehicles, and their growing popularity and mainstream acceptance are clear.

“When these in-demand hybrids roll in, they almost immediately roll right out the door,” says Allen Foster, vice president/general manager of Smart Motors.

Not only do rising hybrid sales suggest the nation is ready to embrace energy-efficient products and programs, but stronger sales of cars in general and hybrids in particular are a leading indicator of our nation’s economic recovery. USA Today reports that if the industry can keep up its momentum, sales could climb back to 16 million in 2013 — on par with the best banner years of a decade ago.

“As the market begins to rebound, it’s obvious people are more aware, and are planning for the future with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Prius V, Prius C, Prius Plug-In, Camry hybrid, Highlander hybrid and Avalon hybrid” says Foster. “During the past few years, the entire auto industry saw customers scaling back on their purchases, but hybrid vehicles have always been a solid product line for us, and in 2013 it is getting even stronger.”

The demand is there to quite literally drive intense and quick sales. A $20,885 Prius C hybrid drives off the lot almost daily.

About Smart Motors: Founded in 1908, Smart Motors is one of the nation’s oldest automotive dealerships and the Midwest’s largest hybrid dealer. In Wisconsin, Smart Motors is the No. 1 volume dealer for both Toyota and Scion. In the Chicago region, Smart Motors is the No. 1 Prius, Prius c, and Prius v dealer. Located at 5901 Odana Road, in Madison, Smart Motors is Wisconsin’s only two-time President’s Cabinet Award recipient from Toyota Motor Sales for superior customer service and sales volume. For more information visit www.smarttoyota.com

Check out this quick video of just a small sample of our hybrid inventory!

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New Corolla Concept gets “Ferocious”

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in News | Posted on 16-01-2013

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Toyota’s best selling vehicle in its history has just gotten a refresh in the form of the Corolla Furia concept vehicle that was unveiled yesterday at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. This new agressive design blends styling seen in the Scion tC and Lexus IS series that is a huge departure from the “standard” styling found in most cars in the compact sedan segment. This new concept could be a hint at the design direction that Toyota will be taking in the future according to Bill Fay, General Manager of Toyota USA, “It’s only a concept, but the Corolla Furia sends a clear message where we’re going in the future. Not only will the styling be more expressive, but it will also reflect our overall approach to the compact segment in every way.”

I, for one, have finally found a Corolla that I would be love to drive. What are your thoughts?

Here is the full article from Detroit News.

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Toyota Corolla “Furia” Concept photo courtesy Detroit News

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We Get a Charge Out of That…

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in Community, Hybrids, News | Posted on 15-01-2013

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DSCN0479Now that plug-in Priuses and EVs are becoming more commonplace on our roadways the sight of one of these Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) hooked up to a public charger in the wild is no longer such an isolated event. Plug-in electrics offer many advantages, especially in city driving, including reduced gasoline use, reduced emissions and electricity costs that are less than gasoline per mile driven. So, as the technology evolves it’s not surprising to see plug-in hybrids and pure electrics catching on here in Madison.
Most owners are charging their cars at home, but here in Madison we are fortunate to have access to a network of public charging stations. Madison Gas and Electric is the biggest player with a network of 26 charging stations through-out the Madison area. Each charging station offers Level 1 charging that uses a standard 120-volt outlet and the adapter that is provided with the vehicle (auto manufacturers do not recommend using an off-the-shelf cord set and this may void the manufacturer’s warranty). The ChargePoint chargers in the MG&E network also provide Level 2 charging at 240-volts using the SAE J1772 electrical connector which is the North American standard for electric vehicles. Using a Level 1 or a Level 2 charger only changes the amount of time it takes to charge the car, not the charging cost. For example, the Prius Plug-in has a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that takes 3 hours to charge with Level 1 charging (120-volts). That same charge only takes 90 minutes with Level 2 charging (240-volts).
Anyone interested in using one of MG&E’s charging stations can find a specific station and even see if it is currently in use at www.chargepoint.net . ChargePoint also offers a mobile phone app to locate and determine station availability. Another popular smartphone app for finding electric vehicle charging stations is PlugShare which is available at www.plugshare.com . PlugShare will not only help you locate public charging stations, it will also direct you to private home charging stations that the homeowner’s have made available to PEV owners (with permission).
Dave-Toso-MGECharging your vehicle at an MG&E public station is gratis for now as the utility is operating the stations free of charge within a trail period during which they are, among other things, gauging personal charging patterns and their demands on the power grid. There will be a cost in the future. As part of its Electric Vehicle Charging Research, MG&E is evaluating different cost options. Addresses for all of MG&E’s PEV charging stations in the network can be found at www.mge.com/ev . MG&E’s charge station map will also indicate which stations are ADA-compliant (American Disabilities Act) stations. Only vehicles with the proper disabled parking permits are allowed to park in these designated stalls.

250px-SAE_J1772_7058855567In addition to MG&E’s charge network, a number of local businesses have seen the value of installing charging stations for their customers who own electric vehicles. Kohl’s Department Store on Madison’s west side, Hy-Vee Grocery Stores, the east and west-side Willy Street Co-op locations and Copps in Shorewood have led the way in this regard. Other businesses, like Smart Motors have plans to install PEV charge stations for their customers in the very near future.
In practice, most people do their charging at home. Here you have the same options of Level 1 or Level 2 charging using a standard 120-volt outlet or you could install a home charging system connected to a 240-volt outlet. Check with an electrician to determine if your home is ready. Most auto manufacturers can provide information on home charging systems that are compatible with your vehicle and may even have a list of qualified electrical installers. Toyota has paired with Leviton, as an approved Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) provider for Toyota customers and dealers. Leviton offers a variety of charge equipment for home use, an extensive customer service center and deals with local, certified installers. Information and a pre-qualification survey are available online at www.toyota.leviton.com . Installation and equipment costs can range from $500 to $3000 depending on the type of equipment and the level of electrical work needed.

So, how much does it cost to charge an PEV at home? The maximum cost to charge the Prius Plug-in equals the battery capacity multiplied by MG&E’s per kilowatt-hour (kWh) electricity rate. The Prius Plug-in’s battery capacity is 4.4 kWh and MG&E charges 14₵ per kWh. So, the maximum charging cost for the Prius Plug-in is $0.62. However, the Prius Plug-in can be programed to charge over-night during off-peak hours when less electricity is used. Keep in mind, you must be enrolled in your utility’s time-of –use rate plan to take advantage of lower off-peak prices. Off-peak hours vary by rate plan and you pay more for electricity used during on-peak hours. The more energy you shift to off-peak use (not just EV charging), the more money you save!

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Oh Deer!

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Community, News | Posted on 29-10-2012

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Just beyond the beam of your headlights, there’s slight movement. It’s barely perceptible, and you keep driving. Several hundred feet later, you see something move again. It’s a deer! There’s no chance to stop. You slam on the brakes, but an impact still occurs.

Welcome to Fall in Wisconsin.

This frightening scene happens surprisingly commonly in this season. According to 2011 reports, the state saw over 18,000 deer-car crashes.  And they’re the worst in the Fall. Less dense foliage and harvest time pushes the animals out into the open, while earlier sunsets makes them harder to see. It’s no surprise over 40 percent of deer crashes occur from mid-October through November, which is during their mating season.Deer Crossing Sign

When a crash does occur, there will be damage. It’s the simple physics of a vehicle traveling at 60 MPH strikes a 150 pound deer. While this situation is unfortunate, Ball Body Shop, a division of Smart Motors, has the expertise required to fix any deer crash incidents.

“The broken windshields, crumpled bumpers, busted headlights, we can definitely fix those,” says Jeff Hepp, body shop manager at Ball Body Shop “We can make any vehicle look like it never met a deer.”

Jeff Hepp recommends avoiding areas where deer congregate after dark. Rural roads, which might lack adequate lighting or feature sharp corners, are a prime area for deer crashes to occur. Over 90 percent of deer crashes occur on the rural backroads, so when traveling through the area, make sure to remain extra vigilant and keep your eyes open—especially at dawn and dusk.

In addition, Jeff offers these tips to make a safe fall driving season:

  • Always use caution when driving—especially at peak hours from 5-10 pm.
  • Deer generally travel in herds. If you see one crossing the road, slow down, as more might be coming.
  • Sometimes it makes sense to hit the deer. This might sound callous, but if the choice comes down to hitting a deer or swerving over the center line, a deer will cause less damage and present less of a risk to human life.
  • Keep an eye out when traveling on rural and country roads.
  • Flash your highbeams to scare deer away. If they freeze in the headlights, just wait for them to move and then slowly proceed.
  • Deer crossing signs do show where deer are more likely to cross.
  • If on a rural road, intermittently honk your horn. Deer have perceptive hearing and will know to avoid an area with such high pitched noise.

By keeping yourself aware of these handy tips, you can reduce your chances of an unexpected deer encounter this year.

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Hybrids Parade About Madison In Record Numbers

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in Community, Events, Hybrids, News | Posted on 26-07-2011

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Hundreds of hybrid car

owners paraded around the west side of Madison on Sunday and set a Guinness World Record for the longest procession of hybrid vehicles.  Paul Cooley, showroom manager and event organizer for Smart Motors set the official tally at 208 hybrids completing a 2.1 mile loop in around 20 minutes.  The parade began and ended at Smart Motors.

 

Hybrids On Parade was described by one of the Madison Police officers assigned to direct the event as the “quietest parade ever”.  For good reason, traveling at steady parade speed of around 5 mph most of the hybrids were able to lock into electric-only mode for the majority of the drive.  The parade consisted mostly of Priuses, and these were largely of the 2004 to 2009 (generation II) vintage.  Other vehicles included: Camry and Highlander hybrids, Lexus hybrids (including a stately LS600h L), Honda Insights, Ford Fusion and Escape hybrids, and a couple of Chevy Volts.

 

 

Many hybrid owners were in town to participate in Madison’s sixth annual Green Drive Expo.  Although hybrid drivers from as far away as Florida, Texas, Colorado and Quebec joined in the record-setting event, the majority of the hybrid drivers were from the Madison area.  In fact, that Sunday morning had a definite ‘family reunion’ feeling to it as local Madison friends and neighbors, many of them supporters of hybrid technology for over a decade,  joined together in a spirit of green camaraderie to set the record and celebrate ‘green driving’.  The world record is further evidence (as if we needed it!) that Madison is a hub of environmentalism and ‘green driving’!

 

The previous Guinness World Record for the longest parade of hybrid cars was 140 during an event organized by Toyota Belgium at Tervuren, Belgium in August of last year.

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