• Jan 20, 2009

Click above for a high-res gallery Smart fortwo

The Smart fortwo couldn't have come to the United States at a better time. Skyrocketing fuel prices and a dearth of fuel efficient vehicles gave Daimler's Tiny Tim a big push to the tune of 25,000 units for the year, far surpassing Smart's goal of 15,000 units. Smart's success is also another feather in the cap of Roger Penske. Penske is the only US distributor for Smart, with only 74 dealers spanning 35 states, and surprisingly, smart achieved its considerable success without using television as an advertising medium.

The fortwo used an extensive online marketing campaign that included $99 down payments. 100,000 people sent in their checks for $99, and Penske says about 55% of those down payments will result in sales. The Penske Automotive Group is expecting another 25,000 sales for 2009, and six more dealers are going to be added. What's left to be seen is whether the fortwo can sustain success if $2 per gallon gasoline sticks around for an extended period of time.


[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who new... America does like a choice in the small car field.....

      I still feel very strongly about the marketers for the US auto industry should be dealt with a big "Your fired"..... They have always missed the mark on what America wants..... or actually needs....
      • 6 Years Ago
      And I've still only seen about 2 on the roads since they came out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess a bulk of those were sold here in Socal? I see these little suckers everyday now, so funny i was on the freeway the other day i was going about 80 mph or so then a yellow/black smart car came zooming in on my tail end jumped to right lane with the driver passing giving me a mad dog look and zooming forward, i had to laugh it was just so hilarious.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They're a superb car, if you live/drive in the city only.

      I live in NC. I freaking HATE how everyone thinks they want one for their 30 minute highway commute @75mph. They just don't get it.

      Why is America so freakin retarded >.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm waiting for the Electric Drive model.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Or for the Hayabusa engine to be an option.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a Waist of money for the same price you can buy a Honda Fit, Scion, Toyota... All these cars you can get for around 15,000 which is a what a smart cost and you can carry 4 people plus stuff...

      The Smart doesn't get amazing MPG
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm all for small cars. However, the "smart" is way too small, overpriced, underpowered, and has a crap transmission. It's not worth the purchase (especially in the face of other small cars like the Fit or Fiesta).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Since I won’t be in the market for a new vehicle until 2010 or 11 I’ll have to wait and see what the other offerings are, i.e. Toyota iQ, Chevy Spark, VW Polo, Fiat 500, Honda Fit.

      I test drove a Smart ForTwo and it rode / handled like crap compared to the Fiat 500 I drove in Europe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Smart isn't meant to be a fuel efficient choice. You can get more room and better fuel economy for the same money.

      The Smart was designed for people living in urban settings with super limited parking. In Europe you see Smarts parked with their front bumper to the curb.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, I have only ever seen a Smart parked that way one time. It's hardly common in Europe that I've seen.

        I think it's more "hype" than reality.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I dont think the 360 costs less than a Wii.

        Wii = $250 but you HAVE to buy another controller so add another $50. The you have to get the charger. Then you have to buy a game. It ends up being similar in cost to the 360. The PS3 is way too expensive compared to the 360 that is why it sells poorly. Anyway .... I digress.

        The Smart is for the hipster doofus crowd. The same crowd that thinks guys in sagged skinny jeans and Chuck Taylor's look cool. Same people that think PBR Beer is something new. Same people that pay $5 for a cup of coffee. The Smart is the antithesis of the buyer.

        Unless you need to part in very small spaces there are way better choices. The care is nothing more than a fashion statement...especially the suburbanites that drive them...hard to justify parking when you have a 3 car garage. The same people would never be seen in a Civic even though it has 4 doors, a bigger trunk, more power, and better MPG.

        Hipster doofus indeed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "They have much more legroom than 99% of SUV's ... is a more accurate statement."

        You go after Flashpoint for over generalizing just to make a even more ridicules comment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm 6ft2, and I can fit just fine in the smart...
        • 6 Years Ago
        JUDY!
        "You are all going on the false assumption that people buy cars based on what they need or what is efficient. The reality is car buyers are more interested in how a car looks and how they think they will look driving it."

        Explain the minivan then! No one thinks they will look good in one!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not actually true, the only vehicles that get better mileage than a smart are hybrids costing significantly more. However for nearly the same money you can get a Toyota with nearly 90% the mileage efficiency and a second row of seats. Id be interested in seeing a resale value of the smart vs. the Toyota down the road.

        Fully agree that these are very useful in urban areas unmatched by other US vehicles. Front passenger room / comfort exceeds other vehicles in its class and anyone who has either spent 30+ minutes and 5 -10+ frequently looking for a parking spot will understand the value of 8ft overall length.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think people are confused about what "fuel efficiency" actually means.

        Force = Mass X Acceleration.

        If you have less mass, you need less force to accelerate that mass.

        A Smart for Two is a TINY vehicle that doesn't fit 99% of Americans - and then, only seats two of them.

        This isn't efficient, its just small. FUEL EFFICIENCY is a Prius, 2010 Fusion or any other car that comfortably seats 4 (American) adults and gets over 30 mpg City.

        Imagine a Chrysler 300 getting 30mpg.

        The Smart is SIZE EFFICIENT - that's all.
        As for selling 25,000 in one year - its just like Wii selling more units than PS3 and 360. 360 and PS3 COST ALOT MORE !!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Epyx: I drive all manner of SUV's at work, but I have actually rented a Smart in France years ago, so actually, I do know what I'm talking about, and my "generalization" is far more accurate than his, which was completely false.

        Dave: You're correct, perhaps. My experience is based on Paris. Rome might have other ... "traditions" with their Smarts.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Some people do need 8 passenger, V8, 4x4 SUV. Namely people who carry 8 passengers, tow things, and drive off road...


        • 6 Years Ago
        Smarts are cool, they are what the targeted audience wants, the urban hipsters crowd.

        Look no one needs an 8 passenger, V8, 4x4 SUV, but its audience, fat people, people with double chins, small units(you know what i mean), depressed people, buy them because they "fit" their lifestyle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cheap gas is causing buyers remorse in a lot of people.I look at the Versa I bought last June and think I could have bought a Mustang! My car is like an S class next to a smart,so I imagine that some owners truly regret that purchase.Those who bought it for attention,however are probably well satisfied.If Toyota brings in the IQ,a real car with grown up dynamics,I predict the end of the Smart in the USA.The Mitsu I,is a very clever four seat on the chassis of the original Smart and has enjoyed huge sales in Japan -build something like that please!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I had the opportunity to drive a Smart already and I do not see why the iQ should be better than the Smart. Because of the one baby-seat more, which I do not need? The iQ will be even more expensive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish the diesel version of Smart was available here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "The Penske Automotive Group is expecting another 25,000 sales for 2009, and six more dealers are going to be added. What's left to be seen is whether the fortwo can sustain success if $2 per gallon gasoline sticks around for an extended period of time."

      If gas stays cheap I'm gonna guess - - - no.

      "Imagine a Chrysler 300 getting 30mpg."

      Imagine a Chrysler 300 getting 27mpg. It does with the base V6. Expect the next gen to be lighter, more aero, with a base powered Phoenix V6 that is more effeicient. You see 30 yet!
        • 6 Years Ago

        Chrysler 300 that gets 30 mpg or better already exists and it's sold in dealerships. Just not in good old U.S. of A. Chrysler obviously thinks Americans are too stupid to buy one. Same as Ford and GM.

        If for nothing else, that's why they (Detroit 3) should go and leave room for companies that don't treat their customers as retards..
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