Many of us are asking whether the Smart Fortwo launch, was a triumph, or a disappointment! Motor Trend stated "consider the lack of the smart fortwo's success." People either love or hate their Smarts and there's not much in-between, but on an objective basis we can't find fault with the use of the term "lack of smart success". This in no way however reduces our enthusiasm for the Smart or SCOA's continued optimism and anticipation for the long term success for the brand. We believe four-doors are not mandatory .
Motor Trend states "consider the lack of the smart fortwo's success." And many of our members and readers ask if the Smart’s USA launch, was a triumph, or a disappointment!
As North America’s oldest and largest smart car portal our slant is Americans either loves or they hate the Smart, and not much in-between. But on an objective basis Smart Car of America can’t find fault with the use of the term "lack of smart success". This in no way however reduces our enthusiasm for the Smart or SCOA's continued optimism and anticipation for the long term success for the brand.
But as far as the lack of the smart car success goes, after a strong start with 50,000 reservations (some say many more) the lack of available cars, failure to communicate with reservation holders and the tanking economy, there's now an abundance of stock is available.
Nevertheless, if we are to be honest with ourselves the smart is yet to be a major success not only in the US, but world-wide, and smart, GmbH was nothing but a money pit for Daimler over the past 10 years.
The very slow sales and the financial burdens are also being felt in America by our Penske smart centers. Considering the smart center dealers with their freestanding buildings, fees, and long waits for inventory hurt many of the dealers who invested large sums of cash (during a far greater economy) for the privilege of selling the smart, their returns have been discouraging.
Smart sales for the past month averaged approximately 3 cars per week per smart center, not quite what Penske envisioned and the smart centers had bet on! Some smart centers did far worse.
There is no doubt the sales base is diminutive, many of the published reviews (with little to no explanation from smart USA) have been negative and smart USA and their smart centers lacked the communication skills Smart car buyers needed for these innovative cars.
However, it's hard to gauge the success of the Smart Fortwo with traditional methods! None-the-less gas prices and the terrible economy have impacted sales.
Smart USA and Penske wouldn't be opening any champagne bottles, any time soon. But, we do think it's a bit premature for anyone to insinuate that the smart is unsuccessful. Like anything else it's a long drive to the end of a journey.
For the naysayers, there have been over 35,000 smarts sold in the U.S. not bad for a new niche model launched at the beginning of the worst economic downturn since 1929.
Penske initially stated he hoped to sell 10,000 units per year and then he moved quickly when the first year's demand hit almost 25,000 cars. He also stated he'd hoped to sell 25,000 this year as well. It looks like it will be more in-line with the 13,000. They're still ahead of their original projections.
Not too bad given our economy, the drop in fuel prices and the fact the smart USA group dropped the ball and upset many possible future buyers. Smart Car world wide sales for the first 8 months of 2009 were 78,600 units and sales for August were off 23% with sales of only 7000 units world wide.
Those not waiting for a Smart Fortwo electric drive model and still long to drive a great city car like a Smart Fortwo this could be the perfect opportunity.
Times have changed, as supply and demand for the Smart Fortwo in the U.S. have leveled off and as fuel prices dropped from their all time highs smart USA’s smart centers are full of 2009 inventory. This is evident by the money saving offers and bargains available through smart USA and if you’re a skillful shopper some unbeatable prices on barely driven 2008 and 2009 smart cars. Just check out the available used smarts on the SCOA forum or EBay! Like a 2009 Smart Fortwo Brabus with Carlsson upgrades that sold for $15,000!
According to an email from our local smart center now through December 31, 2009, anyone (without a $99.00 deposit) can have a payment for as little as $198 a month with 1.9% APR financing. Smart USA is also offering numerous additional money saving offers. During what smart USA is calling smart Value Days if you take a test drive (great idea before you buy any car) you'll receive a gift from the smart USA Collection of personal accessories. You’ll need to call or visit your local smart center for details.