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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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smart Sales drop 1.2% in November

The New York Times reported today that smart sales were down 1.2% in November. This was much better performance than the rest of the Daimler-Benz group: MB, Maybach and AMG fell a combined 27.6% ! BTW they stated that 10,100 cars were sold in that month.

Does anyone know if this drop was an accounting of reservations not converted to sales or a drop in the $99 reservations?

It looks like the combination of low fuel prices and the ongoing recession have caught up with demand for smarts. I wonder how the Penske Auto Group will respond? Lower prices, actual advertising or even new product?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 07:57 AM
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A big part of it was not getting any cars.

With the 09's stuck at the ports, I know that the Tampa dealer just got their November and December shipments just last week. There was about a 3 week period before Thanksgiving that they weren't getting any cars to sell.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 08:34 AM
 
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San Francisco smart had 4-6 cars available with no markup, I think. I saw a bunch on craigslist. Surprising. I bet also, because in affluent markets, the smart isn't necessarily a 1st car, maybe it's feeling like more of an indulgence. Or- flip it the other way, and call it an inexpensive car for people with limited budgets and in this economy, those with less, have less impetus to buy a new car.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 10:37 AM
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunerunner View Post
But on the Daimler site They show smart sales up +36.5% World Wide.
A bit of a difference between "worldwide" and USA only, also this is comparing YTD sales with November only sales.

For those on a limited budget, there are many other choices that may be more appropriate, such as many used cars or even the Versa at under $10k for a stripped model. All of these have 4 seats and give almost the same mileage as a smart. The smart is more of a second or third car for most buyers and as such is a discretionary purchase. The cheaper fuel prices haven't helped either: I see where SUV sales have begun to recover a bit too.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 10:54 AM
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That's true, my figure represents World Wide sales for the past 11 or so months and there are other alternatives to the smart when finances determine the choice of one family car over a commuter and a family car in the garage. Good point!
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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The current blood bath seems to be global and not a good time to go into debt.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Karl Roth View Post
The current blood bath seems to be global and not a good time to go into debt.
karl
Tell me about it. That's why I chose to cancel my smart that was due between Feb-Apr 2009. Didn't really need the $99, just knew in my heart that the logical thing to do is to 'pass' for now. I DO still have one that I reserved in October, so maybe by this time next year, the economy will be a bit better and I can start planning on taking delivery of THAT smart.

Who knows, maybe it will be an "EV". Regardless if gas prices go below a $1 as many predict, I feel we still need to get off the use of fossil fuels as much as possible. The "EV" will be great for me for my work commute. About 60 miles round trip.

But getting back to the subject of this thread, I agree that the 'drop' in November sales HAS to be attributed to lack of product. The model year was changing over, no more '08s coming in and the '09s were held up because of a sticker. The smart centers really got a late start on their '09 deliveries.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 02:06 PM
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I think the drop in sales is simply because of the economy, and more people canceling their order thus creating more orphans, who were then stuffed with options and sat unsold. I'm sure others will corroborate that their dealerships had few if any orphans a few months ago, then more recently had a dozen or so with options loaded on, and now have more orphans and less of them have been stuffed with options.

As supply finally catches up with demand in America, and people keep canceling their reservations, we'll probably see more on lots. But, conversely, as people see more of them driving around, you'll see more people just buying them off the lot (as many people have no interest in the reservation process or a year-long wait).

Bottom line: these little rollerskates are still selling oodles better than other cars.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 02:26 PM
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Or Smartville decided to shift its production slightly, maybe to fill a sudden rise in demand in another market (Italy), thereby making fewer NA451?
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