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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone notice that the early 451's seem to have more gingerbread on them than the later models. I'm always looking at cars and I guess sales steadily declined while the price continued to go up. They made some special super expensive models like the ultimate 112 and those are unicorns. I don't see hardly any with cruise either. Anyone have similar experience?
 

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What do you mean ginger bread? The ultimate 125 was never offered here, in North America.

Pure, Passion, and Brabus's models.

The base Pure, had crank up windows, no radio, and no paddle shifter. Center cap over steel wheel. solid plastic roof.
You add optional equipment

Passion set up to alloy wheels radio 9, electric windows, power exterior mirrors, fancier seats. Panoramic clear roof
options tach and clock pods, fog lamps, radio 10 with subwoofe, heated seats, leather seats, optional convertible roof

Introduced 2009. Brabus, sport model Mono block alloy wheels, 15-17” tires, lowered suspension. Dual center exhaust, sport diffuser front bumper and rear. Rear wheel arch trim. Brabus's emblems, many of the options available for the Passion.

All North American smart cars had the same engine. naturally aspirated engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You don't see a lot of pure models in '08 but many of the later year cars are pure models. '08's are often passion or cabrio's and have heated seats, paddle shift power everything including steering, panoramic roof all of the stuff you named.
 

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What happens with niche cars like these are that early demand is all from people with money and excitement who preordered the cars with all the bells and whistles. The earlier ones are more common because they sold more.

As time went on, these cars sold in fewer numbers to buyers who wanted all the gizmos and just wanted one of these cars as an appliance, second car, city cruiser or novelty toy that’s easy to park. Plus, they were sold in bulk to fleets who didn’t want all the stuff that police, rental companies and ride sharing services find to be worthless, premium costs.

Our American cars are all differentiated by trims. Plastic bits, special colors and a few options. It was really color + interior and nothing else. Only one engine and transmission combo the production whole run from 2008-2015. These cars didn’t evolve; few people traded in to trade up. Many of us crazies just got multiples or spares.

You had to choose between cruise control or paddle shifters - everyone wanted paddles, few road trip these cars to warrant cruise. You also had to choose between fog lights or LED running lights - if your car had either of them. Reason being, the wiring was in place for either of them but not both. (My car had blanks in the lower bumper, but I added factory fogs ands dash button, and Mercedes programmed them for me back in the day.)

You’re going to see more 2008’s than anything because when the cars came here, they sold the highest number on launch year to people willing to pay up. That did indeed dwindle. I get what you’re saying. Not your imagination.
 

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You don't see a lot of pure models in '08 but many of the later year cars are pure models. '08's are often passion or cabrio's and have heated seats, paddle shift power everything including steering, panoramic roof all of the stuff you named.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes Skippy, exactly what you said. I was referring to ordered options not supplied ones. Few people other than owners know anything about these cars. When I see them for sale now they're rarely accurately described by dealers and way overpriced.
 

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2008 was the best sales year in the United States. Demand was so high that some dealerships had waiting lists over a year long. Basically every Smart was a custom order back then.

But it didn't take long for things to unravel.

Part of it was that Smarts were new and trendy, part of it was high gas prices, and part of it was the bad economy and the car's relatively low price.

Gas prices came back down, people realized that the transmission wasn't as expected, and others realized that they wanted more than two seats. A lot of people put down their $99 deposits without a test drive. I remember when tons and tons of really low-mile 2008s and 2009s hit the market, and people on this forum looked for solutions for transmission "bucking" and whatnot.

As sales slowed, dealerships began stocking up on cars. Some were loaded but many were not. My 2012 was one of those dealership stock cars. It came with an optional color and an optional wheel package, but was otherwise a base passion. My 2016 Edition #1 was also dealership stock, and even it didn't come with every option.

At any rate, we never got any of the Ultimate models (just the rare Brabus Tailor Made), and the lack of cruise control was actually a choice. 2011+ cars have more airbags than their European counterparts. Unfortunately, the additional safety means less space on the SAM for options. You could get paddles or cruise from the factory, but not both. However, you could get paddles then later install an aftermarket cruise control. If I recall correctly, some dealerships were aware of this.
 

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2008 was the best sales year in the United States. Demand was so high that some dealerships had waiting lists over a year long. Basically every Smart was a custom order back then.

But it didn't take long for things to unravel.

Part of it was that Smarts were new and trendy, part of it was high gas prices, and part of it was the bad economy and the car's relatively low price.

Gas prices came back down, people realized that the transmission wasn't as expected, and others realized that they wanted more than two seats. A lot of people put down their $99 deposits without a test drive. I remember when tons and tons of really low-mile 2008s and 2009s hit the market, and people on this forum looked for solutions for transmission "bucking" and whatnot.

As sales slowed, dealerships began stocking up on cars. Some were loaded but many were not. My 2012 was one of those dealership stock cars. It came with an optional color and an optional wheel package, but was otherwise a base passion. My 2016 Edition #1 was also dealership stock, and even it didn't come with every option.

At any rate, we never got any of the Ultimate models (just the rare Brabus Tailor Made), and the lack of cruise control was actually a choice. 2011+ cars have more airbags than their European counterparts. Unfortunately, the additional safety means less space on the SAM for options. You could get paddles or cruise from the factory, but not both. However, you could get paddles then later install an aftermarket cruise control. If I recall correctly, some dealerships were aware of this.
That is so amazing! I vaguely remember the excitement then, and that was right during the financial crisis. It was an interesting time, when hybrids were getting popular, and I think there was more variety of cars - including sedans as well as SUVs. Now, sadly, even the major US companies mostly sell SUVs and crossovers, and I do like sedans that are getting rarer. I suppose it's also getting exciting now with the new EVs, but they often tend to be SUVs-type of cars.
 

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...
But it didn't take long for things to unravel.

Part of it was that Smarts were new and trendy, part of it was high gas prices, and part of it was the bad economy and the car's relatively low price.

Gas prices came back down
...
I bought my ForTwo in late 2009. The dealer told me that when gas prices came back down after spiking in 2008 (or so), a lot of people who had reserved a car decided to not buy them when they arrived. Indeed, my car's keys had a tag saying "orphan", and I recall there were six or eight available for immediate purchase sitting on the lot.
 
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