• Nov 17, 2009
Steers and Smarts - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Daimler announced in March it would bring the tiny Smart car to the big state of Texas through its car-sharing service car2go. At the time, the German automaker declared that entering the Austin market with 200 ForTwos was "the next logical step." Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche now thinks that the car share program is also a good way to boost sales numbers, which have dropped recently.

Smart's U.S. sales were down 70.4 percent last month compared to October 2008, and only 661 ForTwos were sold in the U.S. last month. In Austin, as in the first car2go location of Ulm, Germany, the shared cars will initially only be available to city employees. Expansion to other residents – and then to other cities – is expected once the demand is there. Make that if demand is there.



[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm from Austin, and this sounds like a fantastic idea.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i am just kidding around.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What message is Daimler sending to Texas by posing a poseur cowboy saddled on a longhorn? ROFLMAO+PIMP!!!!!

      This has **EPIC FAIL** stamped all over it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It makes some sense, I imagine UT-Austin students will be their biggest customers, and the Longhorn is their mascot.

        Like others have said, Austin is different from other cities in TX (and in the south). Much more liberal and generally very green conscious. It was smart of Daimler to go after a market that has largely been ignored in favor of the more obvious choices (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston, etc).

        This, however, is not to say that other Texas cities don't have merit, because they do. In fact, IIRC, 3 of the 5 fastest growing large cities are in Texas (including Austin).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Back 10 years ago on a visit to Holland I came across such a rental program there. They used SMART cars as well. Put your credit card in the door slot and use the car as long as you wish, return car to any designated lot, do the card thing again... your done. No lame @ss counter help and no lines to get a smoky piece of junk. Loved it though I will say not all cars were that clean.

      Theres a company in SF area doing a similar thing with MINI Coopers.

      @ fixitfitstop... are all in Texas as lame as you seem to be... I'm sure not.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can see it working. The Smart is the size of a steer, so the cowboys will adapt quickly to riding on/in something of similar size ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      You know that the butthead that had the car before you will be running late and not plug it in, or they will just be an A-hole and not plug it in. Need some way of keeping these little gems charged if this stands a chance of working.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are correct that the guy before you will not have plugged it in -- because it has a gasoline engine.

        You fail.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Geez, Diamler-Benz is having problems selling city cars in decentralized metropolitan areas that range up to 100 miles from end to end, with hundreds of miles in-between them.

      Who'da thunk it? And if you think Texas city governments are going to bail out Diamler-Benz by using these "furrin' roller-skates" for fleet service, I can assure you that you've got another thing coming.

      I can't wait to see what Texas Monthly writes about this hare-brained concept ...

        • 5 Years Ago
        "I can't wait to see what Texas Monthly writes about this hare-brained concept "

        Yep, coz driving a lifted Tahoe with a 6L engine in stop-and-go traffic makes more sense eh? You F-ing moron redneck
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you kidding? Knowing how far TM has swung to the left, they'll probably praise it. I used to read it years ago (subscribed for many years), but gave it up. Now it's strictly car mags for me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm in Austin and saw one next to the whole foods on the 6th street on saturday.

      Also by reading the comments a lot of people have no idea about Austin. This place is VERY liberal. Very hippyish, artistic, open community. It' a great place, only problem is it's surrounded by texas.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can you be "branded" as a homophobe?
      • 5 Years Ago
      First thing you should notice from the article is that this program is launching in Austin.

      Most of the people in Austin are from L.A, S.F, Portland, and Seattle. It's probably the most liberal, pot-headed, hipster, organic, gay-friendly town in the entire south.

      Zipcar has been a success in the aforementioned west coast cities. If Smart is going to succeed with this in Texas, there is no better choice than Austin.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, most of the people in Austin are those who had good enough sense to escape from Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas (myself included). We have our share of transplants, but a pretty hefty native population.

        But this: "It's probably the most liberal, pot-headed, hipster, organic, gay-friendly town in the entire south" is entirely 100% true. Hell, Whole Foods is based here.

        As to this working...I agree Austin is the place where it would. Lots of people who would forgo a car but still need one every so often (if only to escape the 100+ degree days during the summer). Still, I can't help but wonder if a Smart is the right vehicle. It's only barely useful for a trip to the grocery store, next to useless for running out to Ikea, Lowe's, Costco, etc.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was in Austin over the weekend staying at the Convention Center Marriott and there were probably 6 of these things (with the logos and all) parked in the underground parking garage. Now I know what was up...
      • 5 Years Ago
      yeeeehawww! I love my home town. For the record: fixitfixitstop - no one in Austin is a big fan of all of the people from the West Coast moving in, they tend to be a lot more strung out and up tight about things than the people raised in a city where shorts and a t-shirt get you access to almost any place in town.
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