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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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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.


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