Print 69 comment(s) - last by macthemechanic.. on Sep 3 at 9:57 AM

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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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

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

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.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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