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http://www.bnet.com/blog/auto-business/penske-spends-25-million-to-rework-nissan-model-for-smart-franchise/
Penske Spends $25 Million to Rework Nissan Model for Smart Franchise

By Jim Henry | November 1, 2010
Parent company Penske Automotive (PAG) disclosed that it’s spending $25 million to help Nissan (NSANY.PK) develop a new four-door hatchback exclusively for the U.S. market, which goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011. The new car shares Nissan’s global “B” platform under the skin with models like the Nissan Cube, the Nissan Juke and the Nissan Versa.
That’s not much money by auto industry standards. Assuming there’s not a lot more to come - and that seems unlikely, since the time from now until the end of 2011 is critically short by auto industry standards — that implies the new Smart five-door is going to be pretty close to an equivalent Nissan. In photos, it looks a lot like the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, and a little like the Nissan Juke.
One thing for sure, the U.S. Smart franchise sorely needs fresh product. Smart’s sole model in the U.S. market, the Smart fortwo, is a two-seater, as the name suggests. That severely limits the audience for Smart. Two people with one overnight bag each are enough to test the current car’s limits for passengers and cargo.
Not only that, the fortwo’s styling is remarkably true in its outside appearance to the first Smart concept car, which was first conceived more than 20 years ago. It’s a tribute to the late Nick Hayek, who founded Smart, that the styling is considered futuristic to this day.
However, the reality is nobody can sell the same-old, same-old for more than 20 years and get away with it. Even instantly recognizable icons like the Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) Beetle, the Porsche 911, the Chevy Corvette and the Ford (F) Mustang have evolved over the years.
Smart can’t stand pat, either. During the third quarter, Smart USA wholesaled 1,165 units, roughly only one-third as many as the year-ago quarter. In October, Smart USA introduced finance and marketing campaigns designed to sell out its remaining 2010 model year inventory.
 

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http://www.bnet.com/blog/auto-business/penske-spends-25-million-to-rework-nissan-model-for-smart-franchise/
Penske Spends $25 Million to Rework Nissan Model for Smart Franchise

By Jim Henry | November 1, 2010
Parent company Penske Automotive (PAG) disclosed that it’s spending $25 million to help Nissan (NSANY.PK) develop a new four-door hatchback exclusively for the U.S. market, which goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011.
$25 Million in the auto business is chump change and the timeline to bring the four-door to market is very short. Granted this venture is small potatoes compared to Government Motors . . .

GM said the Cruze was "developed by a global design and engineering team."This development program spanned over 27 months at a cost of $4 billion US.
 

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the second half of that article sort of makes no sense. This is the second generation of smart, and its design has evolved as much as any car's design would from generation to generation. It is like saying "The Toyota Camry is sure to be a flop next year because it is based on a 30+ year old design". What about the Ford Mustang--surely people must be up in arms that such a car's design would be so consistent for roughly 50 years. I mean COME ON, Ford, what have you been doing??? I'm not sure how the author thinks that the current model smart has not evolved at all from the original.
 

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Oh lord, It looks NOTHING like a Leaf,Juke:smilie_barf:eek:r Versa. It is going to be a Micra with plastic body pieces left over from Toyota's Rav 4. I don't think Nissan is going to let Penske sell a car that will compete directly with anything they already sell.
 

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Oh lord, It looks NOTHING like a Leaf,Juke:smilie_barf:eek:r Versa. It is going to be a Micra with plastic body pieces left over from Toyota's Rav 4. I don't think Nissan is going to let Penske sell a car that will compete directly with anything they already sell.
I don't know maybe for 25 million they will.
 

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While 25 million may not be much to build a car like a Cruze, you have to remember that PAG is taking a platform and investing 25 million into differentiating it from its siblings.
 

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I guess 25 million would be a waste on TV ads, oh, wait how are they gonna promote the 'new' US 'nissan/smart' (just the sound of that makes me gag). Maybe Roger is cozying up to nissan to sell them smartUSA later. Time will tell.

MJB
 

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TV ads or not smart in the USA is a one trick pony. I do believe that this stop gap is a good move for Penske. Whether or not how well it will succeed will depend on what exactly is done to this Nissan and whether or not some marketing will be involved.
 
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