Is this smart?

So, following on from Margarets attraction to the smart cars at the recent Lars Anderson Motor Museum event, we decided to “donate” $99 to Smart USA and see what it brings …


So far, it has brought this letter “from” Roger Penske …
Thank you for reserving your 2008 smart fortwo. We appreciate your enthusiasm for this very special car that is functional, innovative, fun to drive, and simply puts a smile on your face!

We are currently building our dealership network in anticipation of the smart USA vehicle introduction targeted for the first quarter 2008. Your reservation information will be sent to the smart dealer designated for your area. During the second half of 2007, that dealer will contact you directly to formalize your order, work out the details of your purchase agreement and arrange for delivery. Please be sure to keep a copy of your official confirmation of your reservation for reference. Should you have any questions, please call 1-800-smart-USA.

The smart USA team will continue to send you monthly updates on the smart fortwo, including information on vehicle features and accessories, the dealer network, and the US Road Show. Be sure to follow the tour map that we will post in late spring to our website. When the Road Show stops in your city, you will be invited to attend exclusive information sessions and test drives of the new fortwo. It will be an exciting chance to get up close and personal with the new fortwo.

Again, we appreciate your continued excitement for the smart fortwo. Please share the news about our Reservation Program with your family and friends so they also can be a part of this “smart” experience.

Interesting that it’s “smart”, not “Smart”. It’s already “second half of 2007”, and the “road show” passed by Boston ages ago, so their form letter needs some updating!

(and feel free to comment if you think this is a no-no topic here! Or if you think it’s cool …)

12 thoughts on “Is this smart?

  1. The Smart is a crappy, overrated car. I rather be in a golf kart…..

    The only midly interesting car they did, the Smart Roadster was painfully slow and riddled with quality problems. Just ask the owner of who had one a couple of years ago.

    The ForTwo is nothing but a city car. The fools that will buy into the hype will soon realize the errors of their ways.

  2. Ian,
    I have no problem with it being a topic on, it’s your blog after all.
    I do find it unlikely that Margaret will like the smart fortwo given the kind of cars she’s been driving recently..! 😉
    After all the aborted attempts to bring the smart to America, I’m surprised Penske took it on. I think they have an uphill battle with this car. Sure, the MINI did much better than anyone thought, and is credited with a revival in the interest in small cars in America, but sales figures shown that half of them are S’s. I think there is an interest in small *sporty* cars in America. There is also a big demand for fuel efficient cars, but as hybrids – same power but better fuel economy. The smart seems to miss both of these targets… I can’t see figures for power and torque, but the UK one tops out at 71bhp. The new model has better engines and gearboxes, but that’s still not much power. And it gets 40mpg according to the US site. Good, but in Europe there and many, many diesel cars that get better economy than that – when will the US get those? I thought the low sulphur fuel was here now, so what’s the hold up..?

    I can see them being popular in some cities (eg Cambridge) and maybe they’re not planning on mass appeal, but it will be interesting to see it play out.

    I’ll give Margaret a good price on the Beemer if she swtiches to the smart..! 😉 🙂

  3. I heard through an unnamed source that Inskip will be a distributor for Smart.

    Gav — I think there is a urban market for the Smart, depending on price and quality. However, I am not sure the total urban market in the US can sustain the sales levels needed for the marque to have long term viability.

    I want the Smart to succeed, but I’m afraid that the US view of transportation won’t change until we are paying $5/gal.


  4. I find it interesting that smart is using all lower case letters and the new generation MINI is all upper case letters. I’ll be interested to see and drive the smart when it arrives in the US. I believe MINI will still be the best premium small car in the US!!!!


  5. I have also put down a deposit. I guess small cars just intrigue me.

    I went for a test drive and found the smart to be the opposite of the MINI, not a lot of excitement. The transmission was the biggest disappointment. It is an auto manual which is not smooth nor quick.

    The roadster is actually just a big sunroof, not an open top car.

    The car still intrigues me. Don’t ask me why.

  6. Hey Ian, what is the smart fortwo going to cost? With a Toyota Yarus 2-door at about $14k and it gets 40 mpg, the smart is going to need to beat it. And the Yarus is a forfour not fortwo and has the reputation of Toyota quality, something the smart is not known for. I guess as a future toy for micro-car day it would be ok, but unless it is very cheap, I see it as novelty value in the USA. Once one gets smacked by a Suburban, even less! The MINI is smart enough for me!

  7. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Dave …
    I was talking to someone (non car geek!) last week about the smart – she’d seen one in Canada. She was shocked when I told her it would start at $14K; I’m going to bet other people will be, too.

  8. Wow. At those prices it’s going to be a really tough sell.
    To go back to my point about fuel efficient cars – have you seen the new BlueMotion Golf diesel. Should be coming to the US with 52mpg from an engine with over 100hp and plenty of torque.
    I think the combination of sporty cars like the MINI, well built cars like the Yaris and efficient cars like the diesels will squeeze the smart into a very small niche. Like Theo says, will that niche be enough to support a brand…? They’ve kind of pushed Penske out on his own, so there’s no other models to help support the micro car…

  9. I believe MINI will still be the best premium small car in the US!!!!

    Isn’t that one of the terms of your employment contract, tho, Vinny? 😉

    The smart holds up pretty well in accidents; I imagine the first Hummer-smart crash will resemble a rather entertaining game of giant-sized ping pong.

  10. Ian, look forward to hearing more about this and your impressions when you eventually go for a ride. Nothing compares to a MINI or a Mini for that matter but with this and the Fiats coming it will be nice to see more smaller and somewhat different cars on the roads. Though for $14k I would be more opt for a Classic.

  11. Brian~
    Yes, MINI being the best premium small car is part of my employment contract 🙂 It’s still tru tho!


    PS- I can tell you that no one hear is concerned or even talking about the Smart car. You’d think a niche small car would cause some concern, but we have yet to find a good write up about them.

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