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SmartCar smart cars?

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  • Canada was Smart's North American test market. DaimlerChrysler presented the Smart car to the Canadian market in 2004.

    The Smart substantially exceed its Canadian sales targets, by almost four times!

    image

    The 2007 Smart Fortwo will meet the U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency requirements and be compliant for the world's largest car market, the United States.

    Within the next few weeks, DaimlerChrysler's supervisory board will establish when to present the Smart to the United States.

    They are debating whether to use their dealer network or a third party to distribute the Smart in the US.
    A successor to the Smart Fortwo will be on sale in Europe in less than 8 months and DaimlerChrysler will be selling the Smart car in the United States!

    The 2007 Fortwo will be extended by 7 inches and weight will increase slightly. We're told this was done for U.S. requirements and compliance reasons. The new Smart will be embracing the Brabus appearance.

    The Smart's headlights will be larger and more aerodynamic, tail lights will be restructured, improved horse power, enhanced gas mileage, superior safety features, additional color alternatives and added standard and optional equipment will be available. The Smarts windshield angle will be modified for new protection of pedestrians standards.

    Remember, all available Smart cars are gray market vehicles and are not protected under the manufacturer's warranty.

    link title
  • Earlier this year several independent dealers started selling the Americanized version of the Smart.

    The Smart ForTwo was offered in very limited numbers by a handful of independent dealers scattered through out the country.

    Unlike an automobile intended for sale in the US, the available Smart cars are gray market vehicles and are not protected under the manufacturer's warranty.

    The currently available Smart cars were acquired directly from Europe and modified to U.S. standards, which was required by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Due to its limited availability, expense of conversion, shipping, and assorted duties, taxes, and other costs involved the Smart Car into the US, the US-modified Smart ForTwo was priced accordingly.

    The definition of “Gray Market Cars” is cars that have been imported into the U.S. but not through authorized dealers. They may not meet American safety and emission standards. These cars may have significantly lower values than cars imported through normal channels.

    image

    http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/

    In Canada, the Smart Fortwo; has already outsold the other niche micro-mini, the Volkswagen Beetle and BMW Canada's Mini Cooper.

    The Smart was not marketed in Canada by any conventional automotive method.

    The massive media exposure generated by the public; gave much coverage and was helpful for smarts success there.

    Canada did not have enough vehicles to make a proper launch. Dealers had to tell prospective customers they would have an 8 month wait, even with a large deposit.

    Marketing a new car by this method is not beneficial. However in the case of the Smart it only fueled the fire.

    We believe the Fortwo will see enormous and steady growth in the USA and a following like the Mini Cooper.

    In its fifth year in the United States, the Mini Cooper is still setting annual records with 40,000 sales last year.

    http://smartcarofcanada.com/
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks for the info.

    U.S. Market? Fingers crossed!

    M
  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    Roger Penske(UnitedAutoGroup)will set up 30 to 50 dealers to begin selling the second generation Smart in the U.S. in 1st Qt.2008. About 20,000 units initialy.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    I am hearing scuttlebutt that the smart would have limited distribution. Somewhere I have heard between 30 and 50 dealers and on the news yesterday I hear that it would only be offered in a dozen metropolitan areas. Anyone hear anything on that?

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

  • stshepardstshepard Posts: 12
    I love the idea of the Smart ForTwo coming to the USA, infact I'm already planning for purchasing one. I've done some "Build-Your-Own" experiments on some of the european Smart Websites and the pricing appears to vary a great deal depending upon which country you are in. Basically, I was able to configure a Smart ForTwo convertible Gas fueled car for 11835.00 euro's which translated today to be about 15134.00 in us dollars. I'd pay that for the car I configured!

    In the USA I think the success or failure will hinge on packaging and price, we here in the US of A won't pay much more than $15,000.00 for a car this small, no matter who designed or built it. IMO Daimler/Chrysler needs to be sure that a nicely equipped hard top (great stereo, cruise control, special roof, alloy wheels, front, side, and head airbags, ESP and AntiLock Brakes, durable high quality interior fog lights, and a good warranty 5/50 or more) Smart sells for no more than about 14500 and the convertible version of the same car needs to hit right around 15000. They need to keep the packaging simple and easy to understand and they need to make sure thay don't do silly combinations of equipment. for instance on the new Jetta you have to get all kinds of extra equipment in order to get the sunroof that's the kind of thing that infuriates a shopper especially if the packages don't make any sense.

    Finally, IMO, DCX needs to keep replacement parts and accessories priced low, not like typical prices charged for european brands in the US.


    Here's a picture of the 2007 Smart ForTwo (the model they will likely bring to the USA)

    image
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    Not sure which site you were at but I configured one on the UK site and the convertible started at 8,930 Pounds which comes out to just under 16,448 USD. In Canada the coupes start at just over 15,000 USD.

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

  • stshepardstshepard Posts: 12
    You're right, I got my Euro's and Pounds mixed up, the car I configured came out to be about 20,500 on both the UK site and the German site. That would be a lot of money to spend on such a little car.... Although not so much that it instantly turns me off to the car, I'd really have to like it a whole lot to spend that much on it.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    I am hoping for the diesel (much better gas mileage) and for it to start in the 12-14K range. Thats the only way I can see it being workable in the US. 20+K even for the rag top with all the options is going to be a no sell here.

    That is unless gas doubles in price between now and then.

    Edited to add:

    I just peaked at the german website and they start at about 9450 euros which is a little over 12K USD. So there is hope.

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

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well we won't get that model, we will get the all new version that should debut sometime next year.

    M
  • deaner14deaner14 Posts: 40
    Well I'm still looking to see whether it's feasible to get one in the great land of Texas, but I've managed to see a total of one parked under the interchange at I-10 and Loop 1604 in San Antonio.

    Short of staking out the car to determine who the owner is and how they got the car here, mods, etc, etc ... well that's a story for another website.
  • deaner14deaner14 Posts: 40
    I'm sure this has been determined but DCX = Daimler/Chrysler's ticker symbol on NYSE
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,023

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  • 6sptl6sptl Posts: 21
    The Smart is a poor excuse for a car. Actually its a complete and utter piece of crap. Aside from its very snappy design, its not much better than a golf kart. As for fuel economy that's another none starter it has the same EPA highway milage that a civic has while seating 2 people less, taking twice as long to get to 60 mph plus making almost twicw as much pollution. If you are wondering, yes I drove it and immediately hated it more than the evil godmother in cinderella. The reason its never made a penny is that anyone that has ever driven any other micro car before, such as the polo, knows that this is probably one of the worst cars ever built, even a yugo 25 years ago was a better car than a brand new smart, it is trully that bad :mad: Also check consumer reports first drive of the smart which will echo my impressions in an less eloquent manner.
  • huzzahhuzzah Posts: 2
    "Not sure which site you were at but I configured one on the UK site and the convertible started at 8,930 Pounds which comes out to just under 16,448 USD. In Canada the coupes start at just over 15,000 USD."

    Actually, 8,930 Pounds is only 11,302.29 USD. I have no clue where you got your information from, but I used this:
    link title
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    Are you sure you're using the right currencies? I used that site and came up with 8,930 GBP as 16,409.62 USD.

    Now 8,930 Euros comes out to be 11,283.52 USD.

    as of 2006.07.16 21:59:20 UTC.

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

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I think it would be a very nice commuter/second car when you only need space for 2.

    I do have some concerns (rational or irrational) about whether the thing would be safe being crashed into the crowd of Suburbans, Yukons, Expeditions, and Escalades that are in and around Nashville.

    55 MPG (on a diesel) while being a non-hybrid is very appealing to me. :)
  • orvilleorville Posts: 1
    There were two Smartcars displayed at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix this last weekend.

    They had window stickers like a normal car. One was $24,999 and the Turbo was $27,999

    I suspect it is because a company like Zap in California has to convert the cars to US certification.

    Too much for my blood. Give me an old Geo Metro with 48 mpg on the highway. My '91 Ford Probe with 172,000 miles still gets 36 on the highway and 28 around town if I baby it.

    Jack
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    Oh I don't know, the tranny in my neighbors Civic fell apart after 35 miles (yes thats 35 not 35K).

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

  • orbit9090orbit9090 Posts: 110
    You're not supposed to try to tow a broken down Volkswagen Toureg with an economy car...silly neighbors.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    Well all they were doing was accelerating onto the Interstate.

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

  • Has anyone actually imported a Smart ForTwo from Canada? Since Canada uses the same emission standards and similar safety standards, this should not be that difficult. If anyone has done this, would you share your experience(s)? Canadian cars should be of great interest if you want a diesel. Also, since this car has been sold in Canada for several years, there are used vehicles available.

    I notice that a French company is offering Smart ForTwo's (the 'Passion', as I recall) for auction on eBay. They indicate that they will provide a US-sufficient letter of compliance from the maker. They are clearly aiming their sales at the US market. Any thoughts?
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,789
    They indicate that they will provide a US-sufficient letter of compliance from the maker.

    I'll file that under "I will believe that when I see that".

    Yeah they can give a letter of compliance, but that doesn't mean it will pass U.S. standards and/or inspections. I would hate to spend all that money only for it not to be able to get through customs or certified for road use here.

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

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    ZapCar sell a modified Smart ForTwo to American buyers who are deeply interested? They charge a severe premium, but when it arrives it will be street legal.

    This is all moot. Smart's coming to the US in 2008 anyways, so unless you're desperate for a Smart right now, then you might as well wait.
  • I believe Smart starts at around 20K Canadian here in Vancouver. Should be around 20K USD as well, I would imagine. Seriously, almost no one even looks at these cuties after several years of them being on the road. People got used to PT Cruiser, then to Element, now Toyota FJ Cruiser is the head turner, but time changes everything...
  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    The Chevy Beat shown at the New York Auto Show looks like a potential competitor to the smart that will begin selling in the U.S. in 2008. I believe GM/Chevy would do well if they decide to produce the Chevy Beat.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I ran across an older article about how they made a hybrid Smart with a TDI engine.

    80mpg!

    I'd gladly pay more for one. A lot more in fact.
  • Anyone know how they do for longer travel? Mine would be a 40 mile per day RT commute at country highway speed (55+).
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