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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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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.


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