• Jun 10th 2010 at 7:02PM
  • 26
2009 Smart ForTwo Cabriolet – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's really no secret that sales of the gas-powered Smart Fortwo have dwindled down to almost nothing in the U.S., but when you put some numbers up, the Fortwo's slump becomes even more apparent. During the small car's first 18 months on the market, Smart managed to move an average of 1,916 Fortwos per month. Since August 2009, sales have dropped by 66 percent, reaching an average of just 633 per month. The Fortwo recorded its lowest sales month on record in January of this year, selling only 278 units.

Drawing from a thorough analysis of sales figures, the team over at Green Car Advisor believes that the ForTwo's initial appeal has worn off and Smart's little wonder is no longer high on the consideration list of buyers. In order to regain sales, the company needs something new that will appeal to the typical Smart buyers, which Green Car Advisor defines as, "people who want to be seen as being different." That's where the just-detailed electric-powered Smart ED could become the company's savior. Not only is the Smart ED a quirky, head-turning car, it's also battery-powered. So, for those buyers wishing to be different, the Smart ED offers that familiar run-me-over size with battery packs that allows buyers to have that "something different" that they desire. The Smart ED may not be enough to pull the brand back up the sales chart, but when you're only selling 633 cars a month, every little sale is sure to help out.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've owned a Chevrolet Sprint and a Pontiac Firefly (both GM badged versions of the early 90's Suzuki Swift) and thought they were the perfect sized small car for North America. You had space for four adults, a plenty of cargo space with the rear seats folded down and enough power to exceed the speed limit. Plus the car was cheap to buy, cheap to fuel and fun to drive.

      The Smart, in contrast, was designed for congested European streets. So it's just too tiny for most places here. In fact, the only people who'd want one are people who don't even need a car. So that puts a bit of a monkeywrench in the whole affair. Not to mention that the Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Chevrolet Aveo, Honda Fit and Suzuki Swift+ are all priced similarly to the Smart while offering much more room and equal or better fuel economy.

      It's a car without a purpose. I'm sure the Smart ED will help with sales, but then it's competitors will start offering electrics and again you'll see sales drop. It's just a question of time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They do a diesel 0.8L version on this side of the pond... but you guys would complain endlessly about how slow it is, and the nano particles it generates, etc, etc, etc... it sips ~3l/100km (~78mpg)

      You have to ask yourself: "If Europeans are slightly more than us, and have much better health systems, is this diesel pollution thing really a good excuse to keep us on high-octane gas?"

      suckers... (no offense intended, just mocking)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every car has an initial sales rush..

      Sales have been bad because they really screwed up this car when they brought it to the states. People found out that the manumatic sucks. People found out that the gas mileage sucked. People found it that it was unreliable. And thus, the only kei car sold in the United States is a joke.

      I don't know what Diamler was thinking then. But this looks like a repeat episode.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So a year ago I could have gotten a Smart for 18k+ that has absolutely no room, gets around 40 mpg real world, and uses premium gas ($$$)

      but instead I got a Honda Fit Sport Auto w/navi for $19k that has SOOOO much room, averages just under 40 mpg real world, and uses regular gas...

      Did I make the right choice??
      • 5 Years Ago
      I own a Scion xA and absolutely love it. I have been excited about the IQ coming to the US. I am interested in the Leaf, Prius and Volt. Yet not once did I or will I consider the Smart car. It was just a gimmick. When you are the smallest car on the road, seemingly half the size of my xA, people are going to expect you to be the cheapest and get the best gas mileage.

      The Smart wasn't that cheap and the gas mileage meh...
      While waiting for it to come to teh US we were told 60mpg, then 50, then 40, and look people are not even getting that. What advantages does this have over the Yaris/FIt etc.?

      And the nail in the coffin is the transmission. I have read a lot of reviews and talked to many owners they never said mediorce, or dissappointing they said beyond frieghteningly awful. I don't expect much from a trans. I am confortable with 4 speed cheep autos with 100 horsepower but those comments are enought ot scare me off.

      Kei cars can do well in the US but they to feel like a regular car just smaller with a little go cart zip. My xA drove 1000 miles through the hills of Pennsilvania and I never balked about its transmission.
      • 5 Years Ago
      More people who have driven the Smart ED.


      "Importantly, from the perspective of the British government's policy of decarbonizing their transportation system, the EVs performed admirably. Using the UK's predominately fossil-fuel and nuclear-powered grid, the cars produced just 81.4 g of CO2 per kilometer traveled. When the electricity was generated by lower-carbon, largely natural gas-fired combined heat and power systems (CHP), this dropped to 45 g CO2/km. And when wind, wave and solar power alone are used, this evaporates to essentially 0 g CO2/km. "
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well what did they do to try and stop it?
      Brought in a new vp of marketing to give it lifestyle branding or some such crap if I recall correctly.

      It is really a cool little car.
      EV in it would be great but it would do quite well for itself even if they just finally gave it a decent transmission and a reasonable engine choice in the states.
      Other than the small physical size if you truly live in cramped quarters it just makes no sense.
      A car that requires premium fuel and only gets around 40 mpg but gives up so much in size is just a ridiculous proposition and whoever first thought of it is the one who deserves to have their innards twisting on a spit over the whole affair.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Now watch them close shop and the auto industry slink off mumbling about how americans just don't want small euro cars really.

        The idiocy of watching this play out over an over again is just astounding.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ^--- uh huh.... EXACTLY.

        The only kei car we get here is one that is a total piece of crap.
        That really pisses me off. I love ultratiny cars. Ones with enough power to not have problems with hills and having two people in the car, at least.. :P

        Gimme a sport version of the Toyota IQ any day..
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only thing missing is an optional 3 passenger version, everything else is fine (see iQ, T.25/27, etc.).

      We've become so used to certain levels of NVH, size and performance - levels that are excessive and unnecessary - but which make the Smart look inferior in some way. The Smart is actually massively innovative and well packaged considering the basic design goes back to the 1990's. Until we change expectations of what personal transportation is (an appliance for getting from A-B), then the Smart and the like will continue to be on the fringe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm waiting for the used smart prices to come down, I'm looking for a Brabus edition.

      I love the Smart just because it is so small, just perfect for a large city. I hate the idea of driving myself around (160lbs) in a 3000lbs bus of a car.

      But yeah, I wish they gave us the diesel and a better tranny.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The crappy tranny was the sale killer for me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      39.9 mpg for just two passengers and two bags of groceries versus a little less for a gasoline five passenger car? That's why sales are tanking. Because you're still only getting 80 passenger miles per gallon with a full load versus someone with a 25 mpg car who's getting 100 passenger miles per gallon (theoretically, with a four-person load).

      People expect to get much better economy for the sacrifices in space they're making.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Prius gets better fuel economy, yet is much more roomy, with seating for 5 plus more cargo space. The Prius is more expensive, but not that much more, and it helps that Toyota has a better reputation for reliability.

        No wonder the Prius is outselling the Smart ForTwo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just sold mine. I got one of the very first delivered in my area. I really liked the car overall. It was terrific for running errands and fun drive. But the transmission was clunky and my clutch(es) 3! proved unreliable. The traction control failed as did the air conditioning. Light bulbs also proved problematic. All this in less than 19K miles.

      That being said, I will buy another when it's electric and not saddled with the crazy transmission. The other issues, while annoying, I can live with.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You won't be able to "buy"... interested in spending $599/month on a lease?
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