Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

1226227229231232325

Comments

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    but I DO wonder sometimes if the price of diesel is being manipulated for oil company profit.

    You hit the nail right on the head!

    I know someone in the refinery business and he says that while costs have gone up in recent years as one would expect, they have _Not_ gone up to the same degree as the retail prices have. The cost vs sales price ratio has been driven up as high as the consumer can possibly tolerate.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    However I was interested to see what Smart was named for. I now understand why they haven't made any money in all the years they have been on the market. Their watches were good looking but worthless as a watch. A fad that passed almost as quickly as it came.

    Actually Swatch remains the top selling watch in the world. Their popularity is soaring, largely due to:

    1) Their brilliant marketing plan targeting the youth sector.
    2) Making affordable colorful, stylish, accurate timekeeping watches.
    3) Continually producing new models and styles at incredibly low prices.
    4) Relentless commitment to quality control.
    5) Acquisition of a good majority of luxury brands
    6) Creation of company known as ETA, the maker of luxury and prestige watch movements.

    I have a limited edition Jaquet Droz, which is a very high end ($60,000) hand made limited edition (#12 of 20) watch, a company with a very long, rich history and brought back to life by Swatch.

    (sources)
    Swatch Group
    Jaquet Droz
  • Smart car sales have done very well worldwide and adding the US will only enhance that.

    Except for they aren't profitable. If you sell each one at a loss, you cant make it up on volume...ask the big 3.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,706
    Except for they aren't profitable. If you sell each one at a loss, you cant make it up on volume...ask the big 3.

    Yes but Smart produced three cars prior to now. Maybe the Fortwo standing alone produced a profit and the Forfour and roadsters are what brought the company into the red.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    That was before Roger Penske got involved.

    If anyone can turn this car into a successful product he's the man. The consummate businessman / racer / entrepreneur. He would not be getting involved if he did not see a way for it to work.

    This will be a very interesting endeavor to follow. He's also the master of speed of implementation, so he will get it up and running or he will dump it. A no nonsense guy, Smart is in the best hands it could be in. :)
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    "Actually Swatch remains the top selling watch in the world. Their popularity is soaring, largely due to:"

    No I meant the Car. Smart has been in the red for about as long as they have been in business. If Roger is brilliant for sponsoring them and savvy enough to know to drop them if they flop, that would mean that whoever has been selling them at a loss all these year is an idiot wouldn't it?

    No country has as much paved roads as the US and very few countries drive as many miles annually as we do. If the Smart can't make it in countries with small roads and in cities not designed with the Automobile in mind what would make Americans rush out and snap them up now? Not saying they might not do just that, after all we did buy the Hula Hoop but it doesn't seem like a good fit for our lifestyle. I sure couldn't see myself heading up interstate 5 heading up to see Nippon driving a Smart. Once you pass Buttonwillow the freeway is pretty wide and the trucks are doing 75 with a cross wind. The truck tires would be bigger than a Smart car. It would be even worse on 10 in Texas. You would get blown off of the road.

    In very congested cities they might have a hope but that hasn't helped them in any other country.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 393
    Boaz,
    Yes smart has been in the red all along, but this was with the first generation car, which had it's own engines, transmission etc, designed and built speciffically for it. The second generation car has more parts out sourced (eg the engine is a Mitsubishi engine) and apparently costs much less to build, so there is a chance that the company may be operating in profit / car now (one would hope that they made sure they were lowering costs enough to make a profit on each car anyway) they aparently did this without sacrificing the qualities of the original car that people did like. As for driving them on the highway I see lots of people doing just that on the QEW/401 here in ontario, and they don't seem to be having difficulties (and at time I wish I was one of them, I would like to have a smart sar, and it probably would have been doable for us since my partener has a car that carries more than 2, but we decided on getting 2 Mazda 3's at the time, and they are fun :) ).
    I do agree that most people could not use it as their only car though, time will tell if it is successful or not. They did sell more than they expected in Canada (though of course that was the much higher milage desiel version, I am not sure how people are going to react to the gas version here, but it is less expensive so who knows...)
    Scott
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,171
    what would make Americans rush out and snap them up now?

    Because they are different and cute and no one else has one. I'd like one too but my Timex is just fine. It mostly lives in a drawer anyway. :shades:

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    What we will be getting is a reasonable city car that seats two. It will cost us about what a Yaris will and will not be as practical. I doubt if we will be getting them for our kids. These cars have been made in Europe for quite a while now and that is one place where people know and love small cars. Still it is not a money maker. If the one we get is even cheeper than the one they made in Europe we are talking decontenting and we all know what happens to a small car when that happens.

    Like you we can only wait and see but I am not holding my breath. That little 1000 cc motor will be working its little heart out trying to keep up with traffic here. Take it out of the city and we will have another Yugo on our hands.
  • Except for they aren't profitable. If you sell each one at a loss, you cant make it up on volume...ask the big 3.

    If you sell each one at a loss at one volume doesn't mean that at a higher volume, you'll still have the same loss per vehicle. The concept of economies of scale has smaller variable costs as the volume produced is increased. And this is a brand where a new factory was built and produces only about 110-120k vehicles. It'll take time before the venture is profitable.

    As for the ForFour, it was produced by NEDCAR for Smart (and engineered with Mitsubishi), so the costs to DaimlerChrysler were smaller. The coupe/roadster shared many of the same parts with the standard ForTwo, so its costs couldn't have been too much either. I hope all those rumors about the coupe/roadster being sold to another manufacturer are true...that's the model I wanted most of all.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 393
    Yes we will have to see if smart has reduced their manufacturing costs enough to make a profit (and if the US will buy as many proportionally of course) as Canada has. As I said the turbo deisel does fine here on the highway (Canada), and it has less HP than the gas engine, but it also made it a much more efficient car, I like you am not sure the gas engine is efficient enough to make it worth while over the other subcompacts listed (hopefully the numbers reported so far are lower than the actual numbers or smart will quickly be a footnote in US car history) . I almost think they should have waited for the cleaner deisel and or hybris, and/or efull electric car to introduce them to the US market. From what I can tell the Canadian market was happy enough to pay a premium for the deisel, because it got sucj good milage (and it was different of course). Anyway only time will tell.
    Scott
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    On my commute in this morning.

    You can't help but notice them.
  • What we will be getting is a reasonable city car that seats two. It will cost us about what a Yaris will and will not be as practical.

    image

    link title

    So far so good, kind of retro though....
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,706
    Everyone I knew that had one of those had nothing but problems with them.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • Sorry my other link didnt work right:
    image
  • this time it's Mazda and their new 2. Fine for Europe but not here. I prefer the 4-door Mazda2 over this 3-door hatchback. Can't quite beat a Kia cee'd but it can sure have fun trying. Maybe Mazda officials are waiting to see if enough Americans buy the SmartFor's.

    image

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    Pontiac and Toyota discontinued their two seaters for lack of interest. And of course because Mazda had flooded the market and made their car the standard. But the one might expect a vehicle with sporting pretensions to only seat two. The Smart will by no means have sporting pretensions.
  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    Pontiac now has the Solstice and Saturn has it's cuz ,the Sky.I know they were hot sellers for awhile, but I think they have cooled off recently.

    I think Ford is also going to rebadge the Mazda2 and bring it here in late 2009. If they keep it close to the Mazda2 it will be similar in size to the Yaris.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,706
    Pontiac and Toyota discontinued their two seaters for lack of interest.

    Not sure about the Toyota but as for the Pontiac if you are talking about the Fiero (sp?) then all I can say is the lack of interest was due to it being a POS. Everyone I talked to that had one had nothing but trouble with them. One person I knew had two engines replaced in a little over 60K miles.

    Anyway Pontiac has another two seater out.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For a while there they outsold the Miata. They still might.

    Problem is, there are many of them splitting up a small market.

    Plus, there had not been a low-cost RWD 2 seater from the US makers in a long, long time, so at first they had the benefit of pent-up demand.

    I would consider one if you could put the top down from the driver's seat. The fit and finish of the tops I've seen are also a concern I'd have. The Robbins top I put on myself is better than the factory fit I've seen on Pontiacs. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Iron Duke was known for bursting into flames.

    Pontiac's fix? A bigger oil filter. Seriously.

    By the time they fixed it, got it right, they cancelled it.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    "By the time they fixed it, got it right, they cancelled it."

    True, And the came out with a small V-6 that wasn't all that bad. But the market for two seaters fills up pretty fast and sales fall off. The MR-2 was a pretty good example of limited demand.

    Now picture a 1000cc two seater. Just how many people are going to be lining up for that? Once the new wears off it will be a city car and that will fall off rather quickly I believe. Just my opinion.
  • The Iron Duke was known for bursting into flames.

    I thought it was the Fiero specifically with that reputation. I know of too many 200k S-10s with the Iron Duke to think its that engine.

    As far as the getting it right part - it was a Citation front pan turned around and put in the trunk for the back of vehicle, and the Chevette underpinnings in the front. It also lacked a 5 speed transmission for the first few years. In fact, the V6 didn't get a 5 speed until the end.

    The 2.8 was thirsty and not particularly powerful in the application. In 1988, the GT had a nice Greteg 5 speed, the V6, and new front suspension. Then it died.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,535
    Yes, most Iron Duke applications weren't a problem, but I think they had to put a small oil pan on the one in the Fiero in order to fit, cutting oil capacity and resulting in frequent engine failures.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    Against the insight? OK, besides it being ugly. It has a 1000 cc gas motor backed up with a electric motor, or visa versa if you like. But the little puppy got great fuel mileage. In these very forums the complaint was it was a two seater. I never got to drive one but I had a friend that bought one and he did get 60 MPG driving back and forth from San Bernardino to San Fernando. Sometimes he said he did a little better. But you could time his progress coming up to the mountains with a sun dial.

    I have driven some pretty small cars with no more than 60 HP and the specialness wears off pretty quickly when you head up any of the longer passes out of the LA basin. And if you do that enough you get tired of having to drive in the far right hand lane every day or be greeted even by old ladies passing you holding her hand in the air pointing at the sky.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I meant in the context of 2 seaters.

    I don't think the Reatta ever got that engine, that was V6 only IIRC.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    And if you do that enough you get tired of having to drive in the far right hand lane every day or be greeted even by old ladies passing you holding her hand in the air pointing at the sky.

    ROFL!

    My granddad had a 1987 Civic Wagon (2WD) that couldn't maintain 60 MPH up this one particular hill on I-65 towards the end of its life. We always laughed about it when we'd turn the A/C off and everyone in the car had to lean forward to get it up the hill. :) Being an automatic (at least it was a 4-speed!) didn't help.

    It still delivered close to 36 MPG after 250k miles when he sold it for $1,000 back in 2002.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    "My granddad had a 1987 Civic Wagon (2WD) that couldn't maintain 60 MPH up this one particular hill on I-65 towards the end of its life. We always laughed about it when we'd turn the A/C off and everyone in the car had to lean forward to get it up the hill. Being an automatic (at least it was a 4-speed!) didn't help."

    I understand completely. Any of us that have driven some of these underpowered cars, big or small, can remember the benefits as well as the disadvantages. Absolutely everyone that has even seen an old VW bus knows that if you are heading up a hill or long grade you want to get into another lane as soon as you see the VW in front of you. To this day that is an automatic reaction for me.

    I once had a 65 VW Bug I got at a lean sale. On the 91 freeway from Orange county heading to Riverside you could not drive 50 MPH or get it in 4th when the Santa Ana winds were blowing. But it also got great fuel mileage for its day.

    When we see cars like the Smart offered and only get to picture them at first they may seem like a good idea. Even in heavy traffic they might be acceptable for a commuter. But over the long run there are time when it just has to be frustrating to always be the VW bus when traffic opens up.

    I have been reading these forums a long time and have followed many of the reviews given by Edmunds about cars like the Echo, xA-xB and the Yaris. One thing they almost always say is that the cars are a bit underpowered and then add some caveat to make up for it. If the Yaris is underpowered they I shudder to think how the Smart will survive. Like I said earlier, at least the Insight got great fuel mileage, the Smart doesn't even do that. Reasonable but not great for a car that size.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,535
    To put some more history on this, I ran across the 0-60 times for the '74 Datsun B-210. It was 18 seconds, almost as long as the quarter mile time. No one today would put up with that, not to mention the complete lack of safety gear, poor pollution controls, and comfort accessories. Our expectations have brought us where we are today.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,749
    "To put some more history on this, I ran across the 0-60 times for the '74 Datsun B-210. It was 18 seconds, almost as long as the quarter mile time."

    I understand. I had a B-210. Got it from my mother in law after we got her a new car in 92. It was one of the most disappointing cars I have ever owned. Sold it to woman who wanted to get something for her daughter to drive to school. I believe I may have promised the woman her daughter would never get a speeding ticket on any freeway in California as long as she had the B-210.
Sign In or Register to comment.