The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

25 March 2008

We demand our smarts

Last time we looked at the lower-case smart car, we heard from a happy Oklahoma owner, and speculated that smart might be able to sell "a bunch" of their not-quite-microcars in the Sooner State.

US distributor Roger Penske is now reporting that sales are strong nationwide:

Penske told Automotive News that he thinks that, on top of the 25,000 Smarts he's getting from Europe this year, he could "easily" sell 15,000 more. The trouble is that the Smart factory simply can't produce more than they currently are, so those 15,000 extra sales will either be delayed or lost to other brands. Penske said he's waiting to hear from Mercedes about possibly making more Smarts for the U.S.

What would you cross-shop with a smart, anyway? Prius? Honda Fit?

The big question for Penske, and ultimately for Daimler, is whether the little car can establish a permanent niche in the North American market, or if it turns out to be just another flavor of the month. For the moment, I'm betting Penske's right, and he'll move every one of these that rolls off the boat.

Posted at 6:56 AM to Driver's Seat

Charles, have you also noticed that tiny Tata Motors, makers of the tiny Tata (car), is interested in buying... Jaguar?

That would qualify as capital Smart, in my Tata book.

Posted by: localmalcontent at 7:45 AM on 25 March 2008

And Land Rover goes with it. This deal has been in the works for some time, but there always seems to be some sort of last-minute delay. (Ford's already sold off Aston Martin.)

Posted by: CGHill at 8:26 AM on 25 March 2008

I have a co-worker who has reserved not one but two Smart cars ("his" and "hers"). He commutes from the east side of Shawnee to the west side of OKC on a daily basis, thus the interest in the car. Personally I think Smart car owners are giving up an awful lot (comfort, cargo room, performance, etc) for a minimal gain in mileage over larger economical cars.

Posted by: Flack at 9:18 AM on 30 March 2008