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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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
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.

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