The Penske Automotive Group,Inc,which is the national importer and distributor of Smart in the USA is in serious financial difficulty...Its credit rating has been lowered to junk status and it just announced it is suspending its stock dividend...Penske also owns Smart dealerships( including the one in Arizona) as well as Mercedes dealerships...All auto businesses are in trouble due to reduction in sales...I helped Penske by buying my Smart last Saturday...Let us all hope that Penske survives and Smarts continue to be imported...
PAG closed at $7.27 a share yesterday, significantly higher than GM and Bank of America. In a press release, they announced that they were suspending their quarterly dividend among several other cost cutting measures. They certainly are not doing anything that every other prudent business is, or should, be doing, given these unusual times. They appear to be in much better shape than "the Big Three" and they are not squandering federal bailout money! Go smart (lowercase s please)!!!
It seems to me that if what you are suggesting might happen turns out to be true it would be a good idea to hoard some smarts by buying all the orphans you can find. The scarcity of this little marvel in future years could make them very valuable.
The sky is falling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why would one surmise that the smart is threatened in the USA due to smart business changes by PAG? In an economic downturn the smart car might well be a bright spot for Penske relative to some of his other dealerships including Maybach, M-B, Aston Martin, Rolls, Audi and Bentley.
Are smart sales slow right now? Hell yes, the economy is having an impact and people who jumped on Orphans are now turning down their ordered cars creating a bit of a back-up.
But IMO, its the right car at the right time and if anything may become a more important segment of Penske's business rather than less so.
I think you post header is sensational but not based on any facts!
Sensational headlines are justified by sensational times...Penske is a multinational,multi-brand dealer involved in auto sales of usually luxury cars...Although their Smart sales are excellent,they are at a low margin of profit and luxury car sales are crap, endangering the survival of Penske...This may be a time to seriously consider an orphan Smart...I agree that if imports are postponed or delayed, your Smart will become more valuable...It is already destined to be a collector car of sorts...However, I would hate to be required to drive from Arizona to California for dealer service,when the current sole Arizona dealer,owned by Penske, is only 6 miles from my home...A replacement of Penske as the national distributor of Smart may be as lengthy as Chrysler's replacement by Penske...
In my spare time,I am an investor who knows how to read a 10K SEC report...Also ,the 32.1 % drop in USA sales WAS for 12/08 YOY...I expect January,2009 sales to be worse..."Buzz on the street" is the appropriate place to disclose this information even if Penske would love to suppress it on "insider"...
This sounds short of the "Running to the dealers" demanding a car, insighting fear of losing your reservation,losing the service on your Smart, and who knows what else. If the demand is here no matter what the situation,Penske will find a way to fulfill orders. If in your spare time you look, rationalize and invest, read the 10K Sec Report, you have way to much time on your hands. I have Investments also, I study my investments, investment prospects and company quarterly reports that most people. I have taken it in the shorts with this downturn in the economy, who hasn't? But, I would not speculate on the happenings on any car importer. No matter the what I have read and post it on a Blog like this. Unless you have Roger Penskes personal papers saying that Smart is in trouble, then say so. If you wanted BUZZ on the street you got it.
Where you and I differ is that I made money in stock investments in 2008 by both shorting or going long as appropriate at the time...Penske's Smart investment is in good shape,but it is only a small fraction of his total business...Penske is highly leveraged with debt and his overall business has slowing sales needed to pay debt...If Penske goes bankrupt, Smart goes down with it at that time unless Penske can sell the Smart part beforehand...
I doubt this is going to happen, especially when there are plans to test and then release EV Smarts in 2012. But if it does happen, existing Smarts will become collectors items for sure. I'm just not sure how they will continue to be serviced if Smart leaves the USA..
I don't care if you made a mint in 2008 on your investments nor am I saying that your insightes are wrong, all I am saying is you got what you wanted ,Buzz on the street, and you may have upset a few people with this bit of speculation. We know if it gets bad across the board everybody hurts. Have some positive spin, not the possibility of losing Smart altogether. I hate getting into debates on finance. everybody has their own opinion. And, I admit this is a place to put your thoughts, but this topic is like dropping a Hydrogen Bomb on Bikini Atoll.
O.K. guys. Enough is enough. This is suppose to be a friendly forum. If you want to go at each other, exchange e-mail addresses and go at it. This is not the place and I am supprised SCOA has not stepped in. Again, please keep this friendly.
Hi Robert, I would to ask where you got your information? Our whole economy is in trouble, but without valid proof of these accusations, I would have to say that it is strictly speculation. Do you own a smart? If so, how can you love your smart and ohe distributor of the car at the same time? We all just need to take it one day at a time and take care of every customer one at a time.