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Smart fortwo gets 33/41 city/highway

Ford Fiesta gets 29/40 city/highway
Smart global sales to drop below 100K for 2010

A few years ago, drivers across America went into panic mode as gasoline prices soared to nearly $4.00/gallon (or higher in some locales) in 2008. During that time, people started ditching their SUVs/pickups and bought more efficient cars.

As gas prices have started to level out below the $3.00/gallon mark, one car company has been especially hard: Smart. Smart, a division of Daimler AG, has seen U.S. sales free fall since hitting a high mark of 25,000 units for all of 2008 reports Automotive News Europe.

For the first seven months of 2010, sales are down 70 percent compared to the year before. Globally, sales are down over 20 percent and sales will dip to below 100,000 unit for all of 2010 compared to 114,000 in 2009.

There a number of possible reasons for the soft sales in the U.S. The Smart is a cramped two-seater with very little room for cargo. While this might have been acceptable to some U.S. customers when it seemed like the sky was limit with rising gas prices, many likely aren't willing to make that sacrifice today.

Another more likely scenario is that there are plenty of larger (yet still compact) vehicles available on the market for the same money or slightly more than the Smart and seat 5 people plus cargo. A standard Smart fortwo will cost you around $13,200 with A/C. Stepping up to the slightly more opulent Smart fortwo "passion" costs about $14,600.

For that price, you get 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway in return (while requiring premium unleaded gasoline). For comparison, the $15,000 Honda Fit returns 28/35 while the $13,000 Toyota Yaris returns 29/36 -- both vehicles can seat five.

Another competitor, the $14,000 Ford Fiesta, achieves 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

With competitors approaching the mileage of the Smart while offering vastly superior passenger/cargo room for roughly the same money, it shouldn't be too shocking that sales are falling.





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Another reason
By AssBall on 8/31/2010 11:59:04 AM , Rating: 3
I daresay that it doesn't help that ALL car sales are way down these days.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-31/auto-sale...

A lot of people can't afford a new car every 2-3 years like they could 7 years ago. Consumer confidence is really low.




RE: Another reason
By bobsmith1492 on 8/31/2010 12:04:13 PM , Rating: 5
That's a good thing. Anyone buying a brand new car that often is wasting gobs of money. People may just be getting smarter!


RE: Another reason
By geddarkstorm on 8/31/2010 1:06:20 PM , Rating: 5
Which is ironically a bad thing for the Smart.


RE: Another reason
By Reclaimer77 on 8/31/2010 5:14:26 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
That's a good thing.


That's never a good thing. When home and car sales go into the toilet, it creates a very bad snowball effect in our economy. Look what's happening right now! That's not a good thing.


RE: Another reason
By Reclaimer77 on 8/31/2010 6:57:43 PM , Rating: 2
Do people even read my posts before rating? I'm just curious. I defy someone to explain to me how what I said wasn't 100% factually correct, non inflammatory, and non-ill mannered.

The option to save more and spend less has ALWAYS been there. When I see people saying it's a good thing that people "got smart" and started spending less, right at the same time we're in the worst recession in recent history, it perks my ears up. Are we to believe it's just a coincidence, or are they being forced to spend less?

People aren't "getting smart". They simply have no other choice. And that's supposed to be a good thing? We live in a consumer driven economy. Look what happens when people stop consuming, it's NOT good.


RE: Another reason
By Solandri on 8/31/2010 7:34:52 PM , Rating: 1
I didn't downrate it, but I would have because it's wrong. Needless consumer spending does not help the economy. That's the broken window fallacy, where people notice that there's lots of economic activity fixing broken windows after an earthquake. So the suggested solution during a recession is to break all the existing windows to force economic activity. It's a fallacy because of opportunity cost - the money spent on fixing the windows represents money which could've been used to do other more useful things. Instead, it's wasted on needlessly fixing windows.

How does this relate to cars? Like it or not, cars have become more of a fashion statement than a mode of transportation. Every year, millions of perfectly good cars are junked because millions of people want the newest and greatest model to show off to their friends as a status symbol. The influx of those new cars bloats the number of used cars to where they exceed the market demand for used cars. And as a result, millions of fully functional used cars are junked every year.

So in that respect, the current level of new car purchases in this recession is probably much closer to the maximum-efficiency rate of new car production. When times get bad, spending on indulgences gets cut first, and getting a new car to show off is a pretty major indulgence. Spending on indulgences doesn't help economic growth since it doesn't increase economic efficiency. It's simply a byproduct of people being so productive that they can afford to waste money on a few things which don't really make economic sense. So instead of the money being wasted on a new car, it gets spent on something more vital and thus more important to economic growth.

In terms of spending vs. saving, the problem wasn't really spending per se. Saving money and spending it has pretty much the same economic impact. Saved money doesn't sit locked up in a bank vault. When you put money in a savings account, you are in essence loaning the money to the bank at an interest rate. The bank then uses the loan you gave them to buy things which stimulates the economy.

The problem we had was spending beyond your means. People weren't just spending their savings. They were accruing debt by taking out home equity loans and charging stuff on their credit cards way in excess of what they could actually afford to pay, hoping that appreciation in their home values would pay for it.


RE: Another reason
By Reclaimer77 on 8/31/2010 7:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Needless consumer spending does not help the economy.


Who determines what's "needless" though? You apparently.

And no, that's not the broken window fallacy. This is like the fourth different topic I've seen you apply that to. You're wearing it out a bit much don't you think? I realize you've learned something new and it's exciting, but it doesn't apply to EVERY situation!

quote:
Like it or not, cars have become more of a fashion statement than a mode of transportation.


That makes no sense. They are ALL modes of transportation. And sorry, I'm not going along with your statement that the majority of car sales are "needless" fashion statements. If you have the data, show it. But I seriously doubt that statement could ever be quantified. It's your OPINION.

quote:
people want the newest and greatest model to show off to their friends as a status symbol


This is SO judgmental and condescending I won't even dignify it. Stop interjecting your opinions and prejudices as if they were facts.

quote:
And as a result, millions of fully functional used cars are junked every year.


Now we have millions of new cars sitting on lots that aren't being bought. I'm not sure how that's any better.

quote:
Saving money and spending it has pretty much the same economic impact.


That's so wrong it's not even funny.

quote:
The bank then uses the loan you gave them to buy things which stimulates the economy.


Ummm, wrong again.


RE: Another reason
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 9:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now we have millions of new cars sitting on lots that aren't being bought. I'm not sure how that's any better.
Actually car sales aren't that bad. Most everyone is up over last year. Not sure where this info is coming from.


RE: Another reason
By Reclaimer77 on 8/31/2010 11:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
Last year was abysmal though, that's not really saying much.

Last I read dealerships had considerable overstock.


RE: Another reason
By Solandri on 9/1/2010 3:26:44 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Who determines what's "needless" though? You apparently.

No, I'm speaking purely in terms of improving economic efficiency. The primary contribution of a car to the economy is purely functional. Anything beyond that is decorative. While decorative items can cause economic activity (e.g. selling art), they are almost always net economic losses since they don't produce anything which improves economic efficiency. The exceptions I can think of are:

- Entertainment, which is apparently necessary for people to relieve stress and maintain their productivity.
- Marketing, which relies on the irrational behavior of people to cause market movements in directions it would not normally go. (That's not to say marketing is a bad thing, just that its contribution is a net negative compared to the theoretical ideal of completely rational consumers. Thus its real-life contribution to the economy can be either positive or negative.)

Of course like most theoretical ideals, it is unattainable in real life. So I won't condemn such activities as inappropriate or wrong. But I will point out that they are wasteful.
quote:
And no, that's not the broken window fallacy. This is like the fourth different topic I've seen you apply that to. You're wearing it out a bit much don't you think? I realize you've learned something new and it's exciting, but it doesn't apply to EVERY situation!

Actually, I think this is the first time I've mentioned it on this site. And I can only think of a handful of times I've ever mentioned it elsewhere. Maybe you're confusing me with someone else?

quote:
That makes no sense. They are ALL modes of transportation. And sorry, I'm not going along with your statement that the majority of car sales are "needless" fashion statements. If you have the data, show it. But I seriously doubt that statement could ever be quantified. It's your OPINION.

All serve the basic requirement of transportation. The cost of most cars above and beyond that basic role is fashion-related. If you want data, a good example is the SUV trend in the last two decades. The vast majority of people who bought them never used them to go off-road or to tow anything. They bought it simply because it was trendy - it was a fashion statement. Functionally, a sedan or a minivan would've better suited their purposes, in most cases for considerably less cost.

quote:
This is SO judgmental and condescending I won't even dignify it. Stop interjecting your opinions and prejudices as if they were facts.

I think you're misinterpreting what I'm saying as applying to everything people buy and do. I'm simply pointing out that in an ideal market with completely rational actors, such factors wouldn't contribute to purchasing decisions. But in reality, they do partially contribute to such decisions, and degrade economic efficiency from the theoretical optimum.

quote:
Now we have millions of new cars sitting on lots that aren't being bought. I'm not sure how that's any better.

Simple. With reduced demand, fewer cars are built, and the resources which would've been consumed to build them are utilized elsewhere in the economy where they contribute more to improving economic efficiency.

On the bank using your savings thing, if you feel that money deposited in a bank does not contribute to economic velocity, then there's no point arguing further. We fundamentally disagree on the way the economy functions. As I understand it, economic expansion and growth of wealth comes from improving efficiency. You invest money in developing a system or technology so it can produce more for less cost, yielding more in savings than the cost of the development. Economic contraction comes about because you invest money in something which does not produce more for less cost, it just moves money from one place to another, or even worse, yields a net negative ROI. All putting money into a bank does is shift the decision on what to invest the money in from you to the bank.


RE: Another reason
By Reclaimer77 on 9/1/2010 12:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
So your entire argument is basically anything that doesn't promote this theoretical "economic efficiency" is inherently wasteful?

That's an honest question. I'm just trying to get an idea of what you're after here. A lot of what you're saying is very high minded and eloquent, but I'm not sure it reflects the reality of the situation.

quote:
On the bank using your savings thing, if you feel that money deposited in a bank does not contribute to economic velocity, then there's no point arguing further.


No but you were basically saying that a savings account stimulates the economy MORE than if you spent that money in other areas. Which needless to say is oversimplified and most likely false. Banks ALSO use your savings interest money to loan OTHER people money for things that you have already labeled wasteful and needless. How do you feel about that?

quote:
a good example is the SUV trend in the last two decades. The vast majority of people who bought them never used them to go off-road or to tow anything.


But who said SUV's are for off road and towing? As I understand it from parents, SUV's are great for throwing a bunch of kids and equipment in and driving somewhere. What's wrong with that?

In fact, how is it somehow an economic hit if someone buys a big SUV just for themselves? See you still haven't connected the dots on that. There IS no downside to it if he can afford it.

So what's the end game here? People buying only what's economically efficient and putting the rest in a savings account? That's a recipe for complete economic collapse of this country.


RE: Another reason
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 2:55:00 PM , Rating: 3
Interesting . According to this link:
http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autos...
Most of the car companies year to date sales are up from last year. Even Chrysler's up 10.8%.


RE: Another reason
By AssBall on 8/31/2010 3:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
I heard on the radio today that car companies are doing okay, despite recession. So I'm not sure what the consensus is now. I still think consumer confidence is low, though (well mine is, anyway :P).


RE: Another reason
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 3:45:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I still think consumer confidence is low, though
Overall, I think so too. Although mine is high because prices are low. :)


RE: Another reason
By torpor on 8/31/2010 5:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
Year over year, they're all up.

Compared to, say, 2004, it looks like death. Two straight years of 40% down is not made up by one year of 6% up.

Think of it this way - if you drop 50%, you have to climb 100% to get back to where you started.


RE: Another reason
By ebakke on 8/31/2010 3:38:35 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
A lot of people can't afford a new car every 2-3 years like they could 7 years ago. Consumer confidence is really low.
They probably couldn't afford it 7 years ago either.


RE: Another reason
By JediJeb on 8/31/2010 6:04:18 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
They probably couldn't afford it 7 years ago either.


And that's why most consumers are in trouble with credit right now. If you could pay cash and trade cars every 3 years you might come out ahead, if you are financing for 5 years and trading every 3, you are probably throwing a lot of money away. If you were leasing and trading every 3 years you were definately throwing money away, unless you are a corporation and can use the lease for tax purposes.

People saving money and returning to as saving based economy instead of a borrowing based economy will hurt in the short run, but will make a stronger economy in the long term. If you think about it from the 50's through the early 70's the economy was fueled by people that lived through the depression and valued savings over credit. From the mid 70's until the early 2000's you had a swing towards more and more credit and less savings, and when the bubbles pop, the crashes are hard to take because there is no buffer with savings.


RE: Another reason
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 11:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And that's why most consumers are in trouble with credit right now.
You're kind of right. Credit card debt is down from Sept 2008's 975 billion to 852 billion and dropping. That's about $2200 a person. Those are March numbers but as of early August, debt continues to fall although I can't seem to find the exact numbers, Transunion says that credit card debit is the lowest in 8 years. Interestingly, even though debt is going down, credit card spending has risen quite a bit and is only lower than the spending in 2008 right before the crash.

Credit card debt dropping
http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/federa...

Transunion
http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/c...


RE: Another reason
By ebakke on 9/1/2010 10:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
In my area, I keep seeing/hearing ads for "banks that have been given government money and need to clear there books once and for all. If you have over $[some ungodly amount] of credit card debt, call now!"

So it wouldn't surprise me if at least some of that $123B is from debt being written off as part of TARP.


It requires premium gas?
By arazok on 8/31/2010 11:54:37 AM , Rating: 5
Really? WHY?!

I always said the Smart car was an overpriced shopping cart. Is it over engineered as well?

I’d love a car like this as a commuter. Someone give me a reliable, no-frills (but not welfare cheap), car like this for 8K and I’m sold. Ask me for 14K and I’ll slap you in the face.




RE: It requires premium gas?
By Pirks on 8/31/2010 12:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
Scion iQ


RE: It requires premium gas?
By quiksilvr on 8/31/2010 2:32:43 PM , Rating: 4
*slap*

He said a car, not a cart.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By mcnabney on 8/31/2010 2:36:38 PM , Rating: 1
iQ will actually be a fairly refined car. Smart just sucks. Very weak engine, worst transmission ever, and BMW 'reliability'.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By Goty on 8/31/2010 2:39:40 PM , Rating: 3
I got passed by one of these on the freeway the other day (the Smart). I seriously contemplated just driving into the next tree.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By Keeir on 8/31/2010 2:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
No offense Mcnabney, but thats LOADS of faith.

The Toyota IQ has already been released in Europe. Check out www.toyota.co.uk

Here are some highlights:
0-62 of NA 1.33L engine --> 11.8 with Manual
Fuel Economy --> 58.85 Miles per British Gallon with Manual
Price: ~12,000 British Pounds
with a Manual

Compare to the UK Prius,
Here are the Highlights:
0-62 --> 10.4
Fuel Economy -->72.43 Miles per British Gallon
which you can get at ~19,000 British Pounds with an Automatic.

Given the Above Information, I expect the Scion iQ to cost upwards of 14k USD when configured with Automatic etc.
I also expect it to only get around ~40 Combined Fuel Economy. A big jump over say a Civic at around 30 MPG combined, but compared to the B market compeditors at ~35 MPG, 4 Seaters and Sub 20k with features... I think it will be tough to consider the IQ a "refined car" for the NA market.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By plewis00 on 9/1/2010 8:58:40 AM , Rating: 2
It's engineered by Mercedes-Benz (Daimler AG), I don't know where BMW factors into this...


RE: It requires premium gas?
By YashBudini on 9/1/2010 9:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
Given that MB is like #1 in lemon law suits in the US neither do I.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By Samus on 9/1/2010 2:42:04 AM , Rating: 3
I agree, the issue really is price. This is basically the size of the Tata Nano, a car you can own SEVEN of for the price of the Passion.

Sure, the Nano might not be as safe or as luxurious, but the point is, what exactly are you getting for $14,000 dollars. I was shocked when the Smart Fourtwo came out and it was more than $7,000 bucks. At the time, you could get that tiny Kia for $6995, and it seated five and was (relatively) quiet. I don't know if DT readers are aware, but this car is mid-engine. The only thing seperating you from it is 1/2" plyboard and a little carpet padding. It is INSANELY loud on the highway, you might as well be on a motorcycle.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By mmntech on 8/31/2010 12:30:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I’d love a car like this as a commuter. Someone give me a reliable, no-frills (but not welfare cheap), car like this for 8K and I’m sold. Ask me for 14K and I’ll slap you in the face.


KIA Rio5.

The Smart Fortwo is quite possibly the worst car I've ever driven. It's cramped, grossly underpowered even for city driving, and how the heck do you build an automatic car without a torque converter?!


RE: It requires premium gas?
By Pirks on 8/31/2010 12:34:23 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
how the heck do you build an automatic car without a torque converter?
DCT?


RE: It requires premium gas?
By HalJordan on 8/31/2010 12:40:40 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Someone give me a reliable, no-frills (but not welfare cheap), car like this for 8K and I’m sold.


I think $8K is still a bit steep; $5K base would get me interested. Honestly, isn't it just a golf cart with a beefier chassis? Asking $14K is more worth of a kick to the groin, than a slap to the face.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By GaryJohnson on 8/31/2010 1:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
A new top of the line golf cart can run $10k or more.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By MonkeyPaw on 8/31/2010 5:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
Every time I see a Smart car, I actually laugh out loud.

Then I think of one of these:

http://www.littletikescar.com/wp-content/uploads/2...


RE: It requires premium gas?
By WW102 on 8/31/10, Rating: 0
RE: It requires premium gas?
By Motoman on 8/31/2010 12:39:39 PM , Rating: 3
To answer your original question, one would have to presume that it requires premium gas because it has a small-displacement motor that runs at a higher compression ratio than most in order to make enough power to get out of it's own way.

As is frequently noted, the typical car does not benefit at all from premium gas, as their motors are designed to run on 87 octane fuel. But, a motor that is designed to run on 90 octane fuel does indeed need that extra few points in order to operate as advertised.


RE: It requires premium gas?
By hughlle on 8/31/2010 3:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason people in the city i live in buy smart cars is because of the limited parking spaces. It's more that than fuel costs. They piss me off


RE: It requires premium gas?
By FITCamaro on 8/31/10, Rating: 0
RE: It requires premium gas?
By driver01z on 8/31/2010 4:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I had considered getting a Smart car, it would be perfect for me - but this article lists exactly why I went against it - I can get the same or better mileage from a Yaris, Fit, etc, and its too expensive, and I'd rather have a hybrid. I can't believe the Smarts don't get better mileage. And it requires Premium - I didn't even realize that, that's another reason against it. Give me a 45+ mpg (city) car at $10k or less, with regular gas, and I would buy it instantly. The T.25 here might work, if it comes to the US and doesn't have a markup and uses regular gas:
http://www.carguideweb.com/articles/8085/


RE: It requires premium gas?
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 9:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Give me a 45+ mpg (city) car at $10k or less, with regular gas, and I would buy it instantly. The T.25 here might work, if it comes to the US and doesn't have a markup and uses regular gas:
45 mpg city for $10k or less?? Not going to happen. See how much 45 mpg highway cars cost? Getting 45 mpg city will cost MUCH MUCH more. Your best bet will be a 10 year old Prius. As far as the T.25 is concerned, it's not coming to the US.

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/from-th...


Not at all suprising
By XSpeedracerX on 8/31/2010 12:03:37 PM , Rating: 4
The 'Smart' car expects you to make sacrifices in trunk space, saftey and power with virtually no gain in MPG over its competitors. Not hard to see why sales have collapsed.

What the smart car needs is prius-like MPG, but what it will likely get is the boot from the US market Renault style, unless they have a next-generation version up their sleeve...




RE: Not at all suprising
By Omega215D on 8/31/2010 12:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
This car does have it's very limited uses in NYC as it can park in really tight spots. I've seen some owners put sport bike engines in them giving the cars more power but it's an expensive mod.


RE: Not at all suprising
By mcnabney on 8/31/2010 2:34:05 PM , Rating: 3
The Smart cars have the WORST TRANSMISSION KNOWN TO MAN.

Seriously, there is nothing to compare it to. It is like being driven around by a novice driver in an old standard.

/Ford Fiesta is on my short list.


RE: Not at all suprising
By Solandri on 8/31/2010 2:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the ease of parking is one of the major marking points I've seen for it in Europe and similar-sized models in Asia. There were even some ads featuring small cars like this parking head-in in the space between two regular sized cars.

I got to drive the 4-seater version in Europe for a couple days (last minute roadtrip and it was all the rental agency had left). It's actually a pretty well designed car. The interior feels larger than it really is, and most carry-on suitcases will fit in the space between the back seat and the hatchback. When driving, it feels like a regular car, not an overpriced golf cart as someone else put it. I've driven larger subcompacts in the US which handled worse.

But as others have pointed out, its feature set is just not cost-competitive with alternatives out there.


RE: Not at all suprising
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 2:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've driven larger subcompacts in the US which handled worse.
You must've driven a '79 Pinto then because I can't think of one subcompact sold in the US that has worse handling than the "Smart" car. Not only does the "Smart" car suck on the gas mileage front, it's also a POS. Terrible build quality. An acquaintance of mine had one, lemoned it, thought is was just a fluke and bought another. NOPE!! POS too. Anecdotal? Yep. Coincidental, I don't think so considering they only make 3 a year and he had two.


RE: Not at all suprising
By Solandri on 8/31/2010 7:38:47 PM , Rating: 2
Might be because I drove the 4-seater version. I didn't get a chance to try the 2-seater version.


RE: Not at all suprising
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 11:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Might be because I drove the 4-seater version. I didn't get a chance to try the 2-seater version.
Maybe the longer wheelbase helps.


Smart not for Americans
By Fred242 on 8/31/2010 2:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
As a European who has used a Smart for 10 years I am sure that Americans don't understand it. It is an ideal vehicle for crowded cities where parking is at a premium and for those that believe that less is more. On the fuel issue, what you call regular gas, we wouldn't put in a lawn mower- Regular here is 94 octane and super is 98 so it's not surprising that a smart won't run on your regular. As for economy, the diesel smart is the most economical production I.C. car in the world so less whinging please about consumption. There is also a fully electric version. What really pisses me off is that the Mark 2 Smart was redesigned to appeal to the US market for no apparent reason as it is selling so badly. It is now bigger heavier and longer and has a stiff structure just in front of your knees so that idiots who don't wear a seatbelt are 'saved' by the airbag in the US crash test. For the rest of us, it makes it more likely for you to break your legs. If you want to see a really clever microcar google Gordon Murray Design or T25. There you'll find a car smaller than a smart that can carry 3 people. But probably not for Americans.




RE: Smart not for Americans
By Spuke on 8/31/2010 3:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As a European who has used a Smart for 10 years I am sure that Americans don't understand it. It is an ideal vehicle for crowded cities where parking is at a premium and for those that believe that less is more.
Yeah, that's it. We just don't understand it. LOL! We also have cities where parking is a premium and people do just fine with regular cars or, if you're the typical New Yorker, you don't own a car and take the subway instead. I think that would be considered doing more with less.


RE: Smart not for Americans
By Mogounus on 9/1/2010 12:44:34 PM , Rating: 3
He could have said a bit more diplomatically to not sound like a pompus ass but he is pretty much correct. If you think New York is like European cities then I'm guessing you have never been to Europe. Go to Rome and you will immediately realize why the Smart is a great city car over there. Also, New York is probably the exception in the US where the car may actually serve some purpose... maybe they should have sold the car there exclusively.


RE: Smart not for Americans
By baggsgt on 8/31/2010 4:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Read up on octane scales. Europe uses the RON scale and the US uses AKI. 94 RON is about 89 AKI (midgrade) and 98 RON is about 93 AKI (premium). Granted our regular (87 AKI) is lower than the regular gas in Europe when comparing apples to apples, but not as much as you would imply. Either way though. the smart car wouldn't run optimally on European regular either. It's a tech site, so please try to use technically accurate facts.


Not about gas mileage
By Mogounus on 8/31/2010 12:48:43 PM , Rating: 3
In Europe the Smart did not become popular because of its fuel economy. The whole point behind the car was it's size. If you have ever been to Europe then you know that cities tend to be jam packed, parking space is valued like gold and parking spots are typically not designated. The advantage was that you could park the thing in spots other cars could not get into. In the US most parking spots are designated and measured out to standard sizes so the value of squeezing in is almost nullified. I never underderstood why the Smart was even marketed here... it doesnt make sense. The people buying it (IMO) were green tards who just wanted to smell their own farts and didn't consider what the purpose of the car was or that you could get a bigger car with similar fuel economy.




RE: Not about gas mileage
By Spuke on 9/1/2010 12:02:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In Europe the Smart did not become popular because of its fuel economy.
Daimler didn't market the Smart's size here in the US, they marketed the fuel economy. Small cars typically don't do well here so making that a selling point would be silly. Unfortunately, the car doesn't get all of that great of gas mileage so the selling point goes out the window. The car is dropping in sales solely because the people that wanted them already bought them.


RE: Not about gas mileage
By macthemechanic on 9/3/2010 9:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
You are right. Most US cities have much better parking facilities than European cities as there are less historical monuments and such to avoid when building parking lots. In quite a few European cities, I find that in the older areas, it is difficult to find adequate parking, unless the locals have either put them underground or used mass transit. In the newer parts of these cities, they often have very modern and spacious parking facilities as we do in the US. The problem is how to fit parking facilities into very well established locations. Hence the dearth of parking adequacy in these areas. So it makes sense that Smartcars would have fourished as a result. However, the same rules don't apply in most US cities. Gas mileage is the primary issue, for me, then ease of parking and choices due to the extreme size reduction i the vehicles.


each time the price of a barrell of crude falls
By Chaser on 8/31/2010 12:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
..the Smart Car gloat factor falls with it.

The Nissan Leaf might be it's replacement.




By amagriva on 8/31/2010 7:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
Or in the 2012, if the world doesn't end, you can try this: http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/22/chrysler-says-a...


smart FTL
By chromal on 8/31/2010 1:01:52 PM , Rating: 4
Why isn't the 2008-2010 smart fortwo doing well? Probably because it's a solution in search of a problem, and a crappy solution at that.

The smart's 0-60mph time is pretty crappy at 13.6s. Its 60-0mph distance is mediocre at 124ft. Its 1/4mi time is 19.1s @ 70mph. Its slalom speed is especially damning at only 59mph, increasing the chances you'll break traction if you need to make any sort of evasive maneuver at speed. It's skid pad results achieved a lateral force of only 0.74g. It gets pushed around like a toy by the slipstream of other vehicles on the freeway.

Finally, the smart requires significantly more expensive premium grade fuel, while managing to average only 3mpg more than my 1998 Honda Civic 5-spd manual hatchback (which happily runs on the cheaper regular grade gasoline, has dramatically better 0-60mph, skidpad, 1/4mi time, and of course passenger/cargo capacity numbers. And people won't mock you for driving one, at least not nearly as badly).




it's Bugly
By raabscuttle on 8/31/2010 4:33:05 PM , Rating: 2
That is one Bugly rollerskate, er, car...

I'd take the Tata Nano fire-trap over this under sized Mercedes.




RE: it's Bugly
By raabscuttle on 8/31/2010 4:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
Missing the point
By acer905 on 8/31/2010 12:45:05 PM , Rating: 3
Seems like most people are missing the original point of this car. It's not designed as a super efficient vehicle. It's designed to back up into a parallel parking spot, allowing two or three to sit side by side. The fact that that type of parking is illegal in most of the US is the reason that I laughed when I first saw the car here.




By GourdFreeMan on 8/31/2010 1:10:57 PM , Rating: 3
Actually I’d attribute declining sales to market saturation. Every circus with the capital has modernized its fleet of clown cars by now.




I thought Scion iQ would kill it
By Pirks on 8/31/2010 11:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
but looks like it's dead even before IQ arrived




Re Design
By GruntboyX on 8/31/2010 12:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
A car like this begs to have an electric drive train




Crappy engine
By Argon18 on 8/31/10, Rating: 0
RE: Crappy engine
By MrFord on 8/31/2010 12:35:55 PM , Rating: 2
Just as they did in Canada for the first couple years.
At least, the 3 cyl. diesel engine was reasonably efficient.


By Negronpope on 8/31/2010 12:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
With mileage figures similar to my '72 Honda 600 Coupe and less passenger and cargo space, no wonder people are coming to their senses.
The Smart car may be cute, but its not practical. If really small car sold well here, the Japanese could have flooded our market years ago.




duh
By Breathless on 8/31/2010 12:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
its no wonder.... those things really look absolutely ridiculous. They couldn't have picked a "smarter" design?




High price is the downfall
By KIAman on 8/31/2010 1:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
The smart is WAY overpriced. Drop it down to $8k and it becomes both reasonable for what it offers as an automobile AND a cute novelty item for budget minded commuters and people who don't travel much at all.

Another option is to make it all electric with around 60 mile daily driving range with the existing prices. I know for a FACT in my neighborhood, all the golfcarts would be replaced for something like that (considering 90% of the golf carts aren't used on the golf course, just to commute around the neighborhood).




Smartuki!
By bfdd on 8/31/2010 3:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
I want a Smartuki, but the kit is expensive as hell. They should just sell them. I would be first in line.




Real reasons why
By Demon-Xanth on 9/1/2010 10:17:16 AM , Rating: 2
It was expensive, required premium gas, and didn't get that great gas mileage. But why did less than 10% say they would get it again?

The transmission was annoying! The Smart transmission wasn't so smart.




"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins













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