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Thanks for sharing this, jwight.

jwight said:

smart fares well in recent Consumer Reports perception study

Here's how the scores for 37 brands panned out. For a brand to make the list, around 100 respondents or more (out of 2,045) had to name the brand in unaided awareness.

  1. Toyota (130.6 index score)
  2. Ford (121.1)
  3. Honda (93.8)
  4. Chevrolet (92.2)
  5. Mercedes-Benz (83.6)
  6. BMW (69.3)
  7. Volvo (67.0)
  8. Cadillac (63.3)
  9. Lexus (54.4)
  10. Tesla (50.7)
  11. Smart (47.2)
  12. Acura (46.8)
  13. Audi (41.7)
  14. Subaru (41.3)
  15. Nissan (40.3)
  16. GMC (38.2)
  17. Dodge (36.7)
  18. Buick (35.7)
  19. Hyundai (34.5)
  20. Volkswagen (31.2)
  21. Chrysler (31.2)
  22. Ferrari (28.9)
  23. Porsche (24.1)
  24. Scion (22.9)
  25. Lincoln (22.9)
  26. Kia (22.8)
  27. Jaguar (16.4)
  28. Mazda (16.1)
  29. Infiniti (15.8)
  30. Jeep (11.6)
  31. Suzuki (11.1)
  32. Mercury (10.1)
  33. Land Rover (8.3)
  34. Mitsubishi (7.2)
  35. Mini (7.2)
  36. Fiat (6.7)
  37. Saab (5.3)

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2012/01/consumer-reports-study-p...

Its a good thing one of the seven attributes they judged these cars on wasn't after sale service & warranty. If they did I doubt Smart would have made the list. Its interesting though to read the replies to this CR report on the blog.

I think I might need to write to consumers union and let them know...  Great little car, not supported in Minnesota.

Corky A Freeman said:

Its a good thing one of the seven attributes they judged these cars on wasn't after sale service & warranty. If they did I doubt Smart would have made the list. Its interesting though to read the replies to this CR report on the blog.


Good idea Jim. Maybe a little adverse publicity might hit them in the only place they care about , their pocketbook. They could, as evidenced by their attitude, care less about their after sale obligation, so maybe we need to put the word out.
Jim Gausman said:

I think I might need to write to consumers union and let them know...  Great little car, not supported in Minnesota.

Corky A Freeman said:

Its a good thing one of the seven attributes they judged these cars on wasn't after sale service & warranty. If they did I doubt Smart would have made the list. Its interesting though to read the replies to this CR report on the blog.

Interesting article on how the MINI surpassed smart in overall sales: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/how-bmws-mini-trumped-daimlers...

Not sure it's a fair comparison (the MINI is not a micro car) but it does point out where the market resistance is (no back seat, [unfounded] safety concerns.)   Apparently BMW has the cash to keep new MINI models coming, where Mercedes apparently doesn't (or was hoping the smart would be attractive with just the fortwo on offer.)  Rumor is the plant at smartville has a capacity of only 150K cars per year, so that's the maximum production for that model anyway.  With the new forfour being produced in a separate plant I'm not sure what the potential maximum run for both models will be, but probably still significantly less than total MINI production.  Another two years before we'll really know.

Perhaps there are other "micro" cars, but the smart is still the micro-est of the pack.  There's no other micro car that turns one parking space into two in a garage.  Need room for that ATV inside the two car garage?  Get rid of the other long car, add a smart and the ATV, or the smart and the jet ski.  Enjoy life!

currently the car is being sold on cute and small.  O.K. I'm a microcar guy and have been for years, so for me small was enough of a selling point (in fact for those who don't know I actually have a 450 since it;s smaller still).  Unfortunately, IMO, small isn't enough for most consumers (in fact it scares them a bit).  Since the smart was introduced there are now many cars that are basically thrashing them except for the small-cute.  I'm not saying they shouldn't continue the direction they are going, they are selling a LOT of fortwos world-wide, but to only have one model seems rather limiting (especially in the American market). The Mini (case in point) can still seat 4, so even if a person is solo, it's not that big, but they CAN if they need to, seat more.  Part of it is just American mentality, and part of it is just practicality, but in the end, it's probably a lot of factors (including very weak advertising -- I still can't believe how many people don't even know what the car is!).  

I still suggest that if you are going to drive something this small, there should be a bone -- either cheap to buy (the smart isn't bad... but it's not cheap -- for the same money you can get more car)), superior mpg, or superior utility.  The next gen smart has really got to step up to the plate.  I don't want to see them get rid of the fortwo (it's likely the only smart I would buy), but it should get REALLY good mpg (diesel or gas direct injection) and maybe a cute little body based on the MB bionic car, which would keep it aero enough to make the high mpg figures possible?  

It might sound counter-intuitive but I think the smart is both too big and too small.  IMO, it should actually diverge.  It should be two models -- a bit bigger with 'emergency' (Camaro) back seats (ala Mini, or FIAT 500, or Toyota IQ) so you can have the utility if you need it, or smaller yet as with the Gordon Murry T-25, which is smaller than the smart, yet seats 3!! With the T-25, it is supposed to be cheaper to manufacture, still safe, seats 3, smaller by a considerable amount than a fortwo, and gets much better fuel economy!  Now, THERE'S your BONE for driving a microcar!

Thanks for that post Kenny!  Very interesting to read about the T-25.

I hope that smart is interested in learning from their advocates about how to improve.

Jim, you think theres' a chance of that! (roll eyes).  Yeah, I hope so too, but if ANYONE would make the T-25 I'd be all over it -- nearly 70 mpg, smaller than a smart, and seats 3!  It's cute too! Now there's some packaging!

In case you've missed it, the next generation smart will offer two, or possibly three, models - the fortwo (joint Daimler/Renault platform), a new 4 door (forfour) based on a larger joint Daimler/Renault platform, and just possibly a roadster.  So, if all goes well, the smart line will offer three new vehicles in a couple of years.  Of course, they offered three car models during the early 2000s and two of those cars simply weren't competitive and were dropped from the smart line.  Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself this time around.

A bone????? How in the hell does a company expect to sell anything when they take a huge dump on a large swath  of their customers? And don't think MN is a fluke......expect more. The cars are a very limited, niche item & there are areas where the demographics aren't favorable to the type of car that Smart is. Think the one in Madison, or Omaha is immune from deciding these things aren't worth the hassle of trying to sell a niche item? Then what?

Some people have gone so far as to compare the smart dealers closing with other brands like GM, Chrysler, Ford etc. Difference is closing some of them doesn't equate to a big deal as there are enough remaining to amount to a minor inconvenience.......not so with the smart.

Hopefully mine stays together for the duration as I don't care to find out how really "great" Smart takes care of its customers.

Could you just label this repetitive rant as #1 or something similar - would save space and spare us the too frequent exposure.  You need to be posting on the MN M-B dealers Facbook pages, holding rallys in front of their dealerships and beating them up in the local papers if you want to put the spotlight on them - they are the problem, not M-B USA.  Although, running around making a point of telling everyone who asks not to buy a smart isn't likely to encourage any one of those dealers to carry the smart line.  Just a thought...

Corky A Freeman said:

A bone????? How in the hell does a company expect to sell anything when they take a huge dump on a large swath  of their customers? And don't think MN is a fluke......expect more. The cars are a very limited, niche item & there are areas where the demographics aren't favorable to the type of car that Smart is. Think the one in Madison, or Omaha is immune from deciding these things aren't worth the hassle of trying to sell a niche item? Then what?

Some people have gone so far as to compare the smart dealers closing with other brands like GM, Chrysler, Ford etc. Difference is closing some of them doesn't equate to a big deal as there are enough remaining to amount to a minor inconvenience.......not so with the smart.

Hopefully mine stays together for the duration as I don't care to find out how really "great" Smart takes care of its customers.

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