Once again others giving our smarts LOTS of publicity....

http://autos.aol.com/article/smart-fortwo-buy-again/

while the introduction of the article is a clear manipulation of raw data the rest is painfully true.

Yes, I would not buy a smart right now or in the near future as He states.. I have one that is quite good and the NEW model is nothing different to it. So, of course most if not all of us would not buy a new smart in the near future! But bring a true Brabus or a long distance ED that tops out @ 90 and I'll be there in line fighting the others to be the first.....

Tags: AOL, on, report, smart

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Just the existence of this article is good. A friend of mine bought Mustang for looks. Smart will attract increasing number of people as the time goes by. Every next one sold is an advertising on wheels.

It would be good if Smart realized that there is plenty of people who buy Smart as the FIRST and ONLY car and did not try to paint it as a luxury toy (that is how the dealer was trying to convince me. If not that I really thought that this car is just right for me - that argument would have put me off) - then they would get more of those who would otherwise get Yaris or Fit.
lies, damn lies, and statistics....

Is the Fortwo for everyone? No.
Is a diesel pickup truck with dualies for everyone? No.

I have 2 smarts, a 2008 and 2009 Passion. The 2008 has every option available and I paid way less than any comparable car with similar options. The 2009 I bought because the incentives offered by Smart were too good to pass up (and the wife really wanted one of her own)!

On rare occasions I actually drive my Dodge Caravan (when i pull my camper). The smart is way more comfortable on my back and the stereo is much better.

Would i buy another one? Yes! Would i buy one to replace one i already have? Hell no....unless we get the 70+mpg diesel or an affordable electric with suitable range.....!
i read it, not even worth signing up with them idiots to respond to it. and sato, you know i got opinions that are bigger and stronger than a smart, yet my head still fits comfortably inside. i'm wondering what the kilowatt charge is to get a smart on the road for how many miles... with my largest electric bill of my life, last month, 703 KWh's @ $99.95 so $0.142 a KWh (my electric charge is more on other months, economy of size, per home charges, the more i use, the cheaper it gets), my gas is $2.80 a gallon, will 20 KWh get me 50 miles? and the charge time? i fuel up in a couple minutes and can go 450 miles of highway travel, 400 miles of stop and go, then fuel up again in a couple minutes. gasoline will be the chosen fuel for the next 50 years, greenies will have to get used to it, we have had electric cars over 100 years and a $41K volt can go 40 miles on a charge?!?!?!?!?!

the volt is a joke, having obama drive one 10 feet accentuates the joke! pity a long drop cliff wasn't 5 feet ahead of that volt, would have been a worth while drive then.

when i first got my smart, first in state, after a 10 month wait, my main concern was getting wrecked and having to wait a year to get a replacement smart. i hear dismal tales of smart floundering in sales, get sales calls from bored smart reps, asking if i'd want to trade in my 2008 for a 2010, i finally got it almost where i want it, wheels/tires, exhaust, k&n filter, just need CC and seat covers... at least i won't have to wait to get a new smart if i get in a wreck, i have the flashing center brake light and drive very conservatively to avoid getting rear-ended. (i have had lens implants since i got my smart, the surgeon advises against head trauma, like impacts or air bags)

right now, my pure is equal to a US brabus in performance, just no power windows or leather seats. i'm single, the smart is the perfect car for me. maybe a roof rack in the future for larger purchases would be nice. my new next door neighbor has a MB C300 and his GF has a black smart cabrio, she has a DTH center exhaust. well the world isn't totally coming to an end.
Would i buy another one? Maybe. Would i trade in my current '09 Brabus Coupe for a Brabus Cabrio? I'm really thinking about it. haha.

But.... like you, james, i already put a fair bit of money into stuff... even just the sound system alone. I don't think i'd mind losing the cold air intake.... they're not all that expensive. it's the $400 component speakers i bought for the door and tweeter replacements that i'd absolutely hate to lose.
Ryan said:
Would i buy another one? Maybe. Would i trade in my current '09 Brabus Coupe for a Brabus Cabrio? I'm really thinking about it. haha.

But.... like you, james, i already put a fair bit of money into stuff... even just the sound system alone. I don't think i'd mind losing the cold air intake.... they're not all that expensive. it's the $400 component speakers i bought for the door and tweeter replacements that i'd absolutely hate to lose.

i never researched mods for a toyota yaris or a honda fit (second and third choice vehicles) i never cared for the toyota yaris or echo center dash themes (same as minis, i guess), thank god vw cancelled the beetles, every one i see has a flower sprouting from the dash, my first car was a '65 bug. now, i'd have to choose between a rabbit and a smart. i'll never have a family, unless i marry a very wealthy woman with very well behaved children (i'll win the lotto first!)
Would I buy another one now? Yes and no. I would but at this moment we don't need 2 cars and I would only buy now to have a second car.I have put to much money into my current smart to trade it in except for a diesel and then they would have to swap everything from one to the other for free;although I would be there at 9:00 am check book in hand if they had one! The same goes for my iphone. I HATE AT&T but have spent to much on docks to go with my phone I can't switch to a Driod or what ever is out there now.
The better question is what would you do with the check if you totalled your current smart car.

For me an unqualified, yes I would buy another smart car. What model, what options, etc are not really germaine.

As far as the market goes... this is a great car that serves some people at a certain time in their lives. Trying to make it more than that is silly. IMHO, smart USA needs to be less like a traditional car company or risk losing the market they have built. Simple and inexpensive efforts will pay off more than grand plans that involve lots of money and risk.

Ryan said:
Would i buy another one? Maybe. Would i trade in my current '09 Brabus Coupe for a Brabus Cabrio? I'm really thinking about it. haha.

But.... like you, james, i already put a fair bit of money into stuff... even just the sound system alone. I don't think i'd mind losing the cold air intake.... they're not all that expensive. it's the $400 component speakers i bought for the door and tweeter replacements that i'd absolutely hate to lose.
Stuart, what inexpensive efforts? every single smart has been sold by either word of mouth or by people simply wanting one because they saw one in Europe or Canada. The new car rush died off because Smart NEVER advertised the brand not the car properly, they never fixed the main issue that still plagues the car.. the awful transmission. They should have slapped in a dual clutch tranny in the 09 or 2010 model and the car would not have had such a free fall in sales. We the smart car fanatics have all bought ours, now smart needs to market the vehicle to the rest of the country!
I have already posted some ideas (as an example see Aug 27-28 event in Michigan) and contend that a grass roots effort with marketing such as local events and web based media (like the great clips on www.smart.com and others) would be most effective.

A traditional car company model of dealerships and advertising is not going to pay off. The quota of cars from smart GmbH will prevent the kind of scale that makes that business model economically feasible. Traditional mass marketing requires: 1) A car that has broad appeal (smart does not); 2) profit margins that permit these kinds of budgets (smart USA has a rather limited markup with a bounded maximum profit); 3) capability to scale up production to much greater levels (assuming demand exists) not really in the cards with a single global production facility.

I disagree that the car is not selling because of the transmission or clutch that is an excuse. While the transmission could be fixed by smart GmbH (not smart USA) there are fundamental issues that are part of the smart ForTwo concept:

1) short wheelbase - one of the reasons for the car's existence is the ability to park easily and take up a minimum footprint in a city. This means the car will always have a less comfortable ride over long distances on our roads and it means that you lose the rear seat(s). (The ForFour was an business failure in Europe and there was no shortage of exposure to the public there.)

2) Safety - a design principle that requires the additional weight in the frame and safety mechanisms (in other words no cheap Nano car that will fold like paper and cost little)

3) Affordability - another prime concept for smart - which means you have to reduce something: corporate overhead for the manufacturer (less staff, less IT systems); lower profits for the distribution channel (less dealer support, less advertising, shorter warrantee)

4) Fuel efficiency - already huge debate between higher MPG vs higher HP. Less power will drives off a segment of the market, and less MPG drives away another segment. Compromise is rough. (All of the talk about turbos and diesels conveniently ignore the regulatory constraints that would force another expensive reengineering effort.

The business plan needs to deal with the economic realities of smart GmbH and accept the potential of the market. I indeed believe there is a proper marketing plan for this car, but it is not a simplistic one of throwing advertising dollars at the problem. I can imagine a few revolutionary business plans that would lead to increased sales but they all require a lot of hard work on the part of smart USA staff and dedication and focus on core brand values.



SATO said:
Stuart, what inexpensive efforts? every single smart has been sold by either word of mouth or by people simply wanting one because they saw one in Europe or Canada. The new car rush died off because Smart NEVER advertised the brand not the car properly, they never fixed the main issue that still plagues the car.. the awful transmission. They should have slapped in a dual clutch tranny in the 09 or 2010 model and the car would not have had such a free fall in sales. We the smart car fanatics have all bought ours, now smart needs to market the vehicle to the rest of the country!
Stuart, I understand that the smart is not for every one. it after all is a short wheel base commuter car principally for city driving. I don't question its safety, if anything I applaud it. The smarts affordability is another reason I purchased the car, It does not have any large batteries or extras to bog it down both in weight and in actual cost of ownership. The milage I get is quite satisfactory as I average 43mpg combined and could care less if I have to do it on premium. Todays gasoline prices don't make the difference a deal breaker on such a small tank and high mpgs. Some of the Power critics are confusing the transmission's inability to fly through the gears. the Mitsu engine is quite torquey and would be very well mated to a dual clutch transmission, This would improve the feel of the car both at a crawl in traffic and at any light. If I had any say I'd throw in a direct fuel injection that would spike both fuel efficiency as well as torque curves. Both of these I don't think would be a manufacturers investment not rewarded by the consumer. I for one would without question hand over the keys to my 08 and pick up the 2011 if it had the previously mentioned modifications or improvements.
I agree with you on all of these points. The engineering changes are a smart GmbH decision and worth considering albeit that these improvements would probably have little impact on car sales.

You are also hitting on some of the real reasons people buy these cars (in addition to being the kind of consumer that is not caught up in prestige and how others look at you). Bigger is not better should be part of the DNA of the whole concept and channel.

Traditional mass media is simply a poor return on very scarce spending dollars. Let's say the US has a maximum quota of 50,000 cars per year. The gross profits to smart USA would be around $50 million dollars. If you figure 50 dealers nationwide that leaves about $1m per dealer. After paying for overhead (building, staff, utilities, etc) there is scant profit left with little prospect for huge increases in inventory and demand.

If I were drawing up the business model I would question every expense and the core rationale behind each. One option would be to get rid of the 'dealerships' and their buildings, perhaps a small corporate office (like they have today) and 'roaming delivery centers' such as pulling of an agreement with a chain like Sears or Walmart (where the smart staff would go from location to location on a rotating basis with parts stock for warranty repairs by trained smart techs and delivery and demo drive staff). This would enlarge the markets and keep costs down. The key issue is that each geographic market has a limited demand and costs must be tightly controlled since high volume is not an option (and probably never will be).




SATO said:
Stuart, I understand that the smart is not for every one. it after all is a short wheel base commuter car principally for city driving. I don't question its safety, if anything I applaud it. The smarts affordability is another reason I purchased the car, It does not have any large batteries or extras to bog it down both in weight and in actual cost of ownership. The milage I get is quite satisfactory as I average 43mpg combined and could care less if I have to do it on premium. Todays gasoline prices don't make the difference a deal breaker on such a small tank and high mpgs. Some of the Power critics are confusing the transmission's inability to fly through the gears. the Mitsu engine is quite torquey and would be very well mated to a dual clutch transmission, This would improve the feel of the car both at a crawl in traffic and at any light. If I had any say I'd throw in a direct fuel injection that would spike both fuel efficiency as well as torque curves. Both of these I don't think would be a manufacturers investment not rewarded by the consumer. I for one would without question hand over the keys to my 08 and pick up the 2011 if it had the previously mentioned modifications or improvements.
All valid points but the current model 451 smart is a done deal from the M-B perspective. The 2011 car is set in stone (with some nice improvements) and the design of its replacement, the smart/Renault small car due in a couple of years, is probably well underway. Hopefully that car will address the issues with the 450/451 versions, but my guess is the end result will be a front wheel drive car with a clutch pedal. If we get a diesel version in the US it may be worth the compromise.

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