Thursday, June 24, 2004

Smart For2 might not make it

The tiny Smart For2 city car that starts at $9,000 in Europe could sell in the US. In places like New York, Boston it could be useful as a second or third comuter car and you'd get sales elsewhere from people looking for something unique. Sales wouldn't be high but in a 16.5 million car market each year there room for everyone. Diamlier-Chrysler has stated openly that they have no intention of bringing the current For2 over to the US because they feel sales would be too low to warrent the trouble and expense. Enter ZAP Inc. and one Thomas Heidemann who are planning on their own to import the For2.

Diamlier-Chrysler's Smart For2

If they can get past all the issues listed in the AutoWeek article they have a huge issue on price. They are going to start the For2 at $15,000? $15k and with a few options it would be pushing $20k. That's Mini territory. That's a loaded Cobalt. That's a nice Civic. That's an AWD Impreza. No one looking at $20k cars is going to opt for a 60hp 2 seater with zero cubic ft. of cargo space over the giant field of "real" cars and many nice cars available at that price. At that price the only people buying will be the idle rich, Hollywoord elites and Greens trying to drive home a political point.
No chance at all that these will sell in quantity at that price. 15,000 units p/a? Everyone in Hollywood (a notorious bunch of lip-servicing hypocrites) would have to own one, because no one but rich liberals would want one compared to what else is available in the market. If they sold at the Euro cost (c$10k), I'd be interested in one for the mileage and easy parking it would grant to urban transit. At $20k, one can get a real car that also gets good fuel economy and has cargo space. Nice idea, bad particulars.
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