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SmartCar smart cars?

deaner14deaner14 Posts: 40
edited March 2014 in smart
I had the opportunity to make it back to Toronto recently and noticed a number of Smart Cars cruising and parked in the streets.

Although time didn't permit me to seek out the "expert" dealer opinions, I was interested tosee if there were any out there that have first-hand knowledge of these vehicles and what the experience is like. I've been to the Smartcar website and liked what I saw... especially the Roadster version.

I'd consider purchasing one for South-Central Texas although I'm sure it would be laughed at and ridiculed by the "bigger in Texas" mentality.

Also, I'm not sure how to get one of these down here for my own personal use. I thought I had read somewhere that they weren't "legal" in the states just yet.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
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Comments

  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    Hello friend

    Seems lot of people in Texas are trading their SUV's for smaller cars. If you have only 1 or 2 members in your family, u can go for Smart car and zapcars is selling that vehicle.

    Lot of smaller models are coming up while the biv SUV sales are declining.
  • I've sat in one, which was placed inside a department store as a prize or something. It feels quite roomy inside. The quality of the materials is quite high. These cars are good for driving in congested cities, because they get great mileage, and are so easy to park that you can actually park them head first at a curb, since they are as long as some cars are wide.

    The downside is that there is virtually no storage space, no cruise control, and these cars are rather expensive for their size (they cost like an entry-level midsize sedan, or a loaded compact sedan). But being sold by Mercedes, it's hard to expect anything else.
  • Would you happen to remember what the prices were like. Can't seem to find anything accurate on the web without divulging too much info. I'm looking towards the roadster. Thanks
  • I just test drove a fortwo on the weekend. Absolutely loved it! Fun Fun Fun. Very slick clutchless shifting, plenty of zip (esp. low end torque from the 800cc. diesel engine), lots of room, and more space behind the seat than you would expect, (you could pile a few duffel bags behind the seats. The seats are comfy, highway cruising is no problem and the brakes are great. How does 60mpg in the city and 80 on the highway sound? The little diesel is quiet and smokeless yet I have heard they are developing a gasoline engine for the US market (I hope they still offer the stingy, torquey diesel). The vehicle has a formula one inspired space frame that makes the little car safer than many bigger cars. In Europe, where they have been selling since 1999 the Smartcar has a reputation for excellent reliability also. It is my understanding that they sell from $16,900 to about $22,000 Cdn and there is often a waiting list.
  • hi, i own a Smart Passion fortwo. They are a blast. everyone stares. it takes 1/2 an hour to get out of parking lots for all the people stopping to ask ?'s. the cars are hard to get here in the U.S. dealers can't sell them. they have to have emmisions upgrades to get a registration. I live in south florida and this one is up to code and registered it was brought over by a guy who lives in England.
    I will be listing it on ebay as of this friday 3/24 it is a '99 mercedes smart passion fortwo with under 57,000 km great condition, clean no problems. starting bid is $12,000
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    If you don't mind me asking- why are you selling such a fantastic car?

    Are you upgrading to a new Smart ForTwo?
  • just had a baby :(
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    guess two seats won't cut it anymore, eh?
  • watkinstwatkinst Posts: 119
    Zap got the jump on Mercedes and I suspect there will be a big blow up once Mercedes decides they can actually sell the car in the US. More than anything I think its all politics. We have motorcycles with 1000cc engines sold by the hundreds with minimal polution controls on them in the US each year even in California. I ride a motorcycle all the time and if I could trade it for a quality car like the SMART with airbags and a roof I would be there in a second. I think the problem with the small cars and the perception in the US is that all of the small cars we have seen besides the original Civic are total junk. The SMART appears to have serious engineering and quality materials and that is a big plus even if it is a pint sized car. The small GM cars are still $18K or more and they are garbage. Seriously I think the first company to get SMART and sell a quality small car for a resonable price in the US will have a winner. The Mini is clearly to expensive for most people but the concept of a small quality car has made it very popular. I don't see why the SMART car would be much different only perhaps more affordable and great for the daily trip to the office.
  • I was recently in Italy and these cars were everywhere, does anyone know where and if you can purchase one in Southern California?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    There is this company in Scottsdale, Arizona I think called ZapCars that will modify a Smart ForTwo for you and import it into the US- you have to pay for the modifications and the actual Smart itself.
  • nobigoilnobigoil Posts: 2
    This site and many other cars sites don't seem to know that a small company ZAP (stock symbol ZP) is delivering smart cars that get amazing gas mileage see www.zapworld.com and all electric cars. Why doesn't this site and others list this manufacturer?
  • dawnjdawnj Posts: 2
    my husband and i have paid a deposit and are on the zap waiting list, but there is no way to register the car in california. we call them every couple of weeks to see what is up.

    HOWEVER i did see one driving around in san francisco with california plates. i asked the driver how he did it, and he said "you don't even want to know." but i did.

    does anyone know how we could do it??
  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    Did many of you notice a small article in Automotive News (6/5/06) that said "DaimlerChrysler is leaning toward launching its Smart minicar in the United States". Let's send Smart.com our reply to get Smart in the U.S.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    Saw one in my companies parking lot yesterday, interesting looking car. From what I have heard and read it would be in consideration as a second "commuter" car.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    We just returned from a trip to the Medeteraining countries.Smart for 2 cars are in abundance.The car appears to be very agile, and they can be parked in the smallest spots. If imported,I will have one(not interested in the over priced Smart brought in by Zap).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    So you guys really think Smart can make it here? Mercedes really can't afford for this to flop. I've never seen a Smart in person, but they look to be dangerously small for American roads???

    M
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    So you guys really think Smart can make it here?

    I think there is a good chance especially if they can bring the diesels in and they can get the high mileage with our emission standards. With the way gas prices are going a small commuter car that gets a combined 55MPG should do well.

    My understanding is that Zap has a waiting list for the cars so it would be smart (no pun intended) for Damiler/Chrysler to seriously look into bringing it here.

    I've never seen a Smart in person, but they look to be dangerously small for American roads???

    They are small but supposively they are pretty safe. The Mini Cooper is small and it sells well.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • lonestar98lonestar98 Posts: 48
    one potential way to get a zap smart registered in california is a find a 45 state legal zap smart w/ over 7500 miles on it (kind of tough at this point, but i'm sure it could be done). you are then free to register it in cali. that's how folks are getting diesel e-classes here. but i'd wait and see if the second gen fortwo is coming here. it should be a much better car and if imported it will be cheaper, too!
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    Doesn't Smart make a gasoline powered one? According to Zaps web page the cars they are selling uses regular unleaded (of course I suspect that their website is dated).

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • lonestar98lonestar98 Posts: 48
    the fortwo is available as either a diesel or gas model. canada only gets the diesel. here in the states, zap is only bringing in the gasoline model.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    Ok so if Zap is bringing in the gas ones whats stopping them from being registered in California?

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    Yes, we all have concerns being confronted with an SUV while in a small car. But $3.00 plus gas will necessitate thrifty autos. For example take a look at the Mitsubishi i in the June 12 issue of Autoweek. Yes I am expecting M/B will import the Smart, and soon.
  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    DCX will formally announce on 6/27/06 that the Smart for two will be available for sale in U.S. in 2007.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    Is there any more information? Like how many they intend to import or if they will be diesel or gas or pricing?

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • dawnjdawnj Posts: 2
    probably this is dumb, but what does dcx stand for?
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    DCX? why that means

    Dry Copy Xerox

    Damn Close Xavier

    Dark Colored Xterra

    Actually its Damiler Chrysler.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 2,075
    DCX will formally announce on 6/27/06 that the Smart for two will be available for sale in U.S. in 2007.

    Does that include California (oh please, oh please, oh please)?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • jim1462jim1462 Posts: 40
    Guys this is all I know

    Chrysler to sell Smart car in U.S. in 2007-report
    26 Jun 2006, 05:43 AM ET
    DETROIT, June 26 (Reuters) - DaimlerChrysler AG will announce a plan this week to begin selling its two-seater Smart car in the United States next year, the Detroit News reported on Monday.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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: 15,867
    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?

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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
  • 6sptl6sptl Posts: 24
    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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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
  • orbit9090orbit9090 Posts: 116
    image
This discussion has been closed.