USA gets smart

http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1808341,00.html
Does size matter? Smart car challenge to US gas guzzlers
Andrew Clark in New York Thursday June 29, 2006
The Guardian
Can anything persuade American motorists that size is not important? DaimlerChrysler is hoping to smash received wisdom in the motor industry by unleashing its tiny Smart car on the world's biggest auto market.
The manufacturer announced yesterday in Detroit that the 2.4-metre (8ft) long, two-seater car would go on sale in the US in 2008, a decade after its launch in Europe. Originally a design collaboration with the Swiss watch firm Swatch, the micro car has won plaudits for its fuel efficiency and for allowing drivers to slip into tiny parking spaces.
About 143,000 of the cars were sold in 36 countries last year but the US is an untried market. DaimlerChrysler hopes soaring petrol prices will weaken US motorists' penchant for sports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks. It wants to sell 20,000 Smart cars a year in the US. DaimlerChrysler's chairman, Dieter Zetsche (seen in the driver's seat yesterday), said: "The time has never been better for this, and I am convinced that the Smart fortwo [model] as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris."
The challenge is a stiff one. Small cars no bigger than the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic made up only 13% of vehicles on the roads in the US in 2004, according to the consultants RL Polk.
Smart cars will be priced at about $15,000 (8,200). Joseph Lorio, senior editor at the Michigan-based Automobile Magazine, was sceptical: "It would be hard to look suave and cool driving a little egg-shaped car."
.
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http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1808341,00.html
Does size matter? Smart car challenge to US gas guzzlers
Andrew Clark in New York Thursday June 29, 2006 The Guardian
Can anything persuade American motorists that size is not important? DaimlerChrysler is hoping to smash received wisdom in the motor industry by unleashing its tiny Smart car on the world's biggest auto market.
The manufacturer announced yesterday in Detroit that the 2.4-metre (8ft) long, two-seater car would go on sale in the US in 2008, a decade after its launch in Europe. Originally a design collaboration with the Swiss watch firm Swatch, the micro car has won plaudits for its fuel efficiency and for allowing drivers to slip into tiny parking spaces.
About 143,000 of the cars were sold in 36 countries last year but the US is an untried market. DaimlerChrysler hopes soaring petrol prices will weaken US motorists' penchant for sports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks. It wants to sell 20,000 Smart cars a year in the US. DaimlerChrysler's chairman, Dieter Zetsche (seen in the driver's seat yesterday), said: "The time has never been better for this, and I am convinced that the Smart fortwo [model] as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris."
The challenge is a stiff one. Small cars no bigger than the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic made up only 13% of vehicles on the roads in the US in 2004, according to the consultants RL Polk.
Smart cars will be priced at about $15,000 (8,200). Joseph Lorio, senior editor at the Michigan-based Automobile Magazine, was sceptical: "It would be hard to look suave and cool driving a little egg-shaped car."
This vehicle, the Eco-Fueler, may well be a better option. It's a three-wheel, three-passenger vehicle which is legal to drive in the diamond lanes with only one passenger. Apparently has a chassis designed by Mickey Thompson Engineering and tops out around 130 mph, although I'm not ready to test drive it at that speed, yet. This overall rig was designed by the NASA engineer who helped design the moon rover so I don't think I'll challenge his credentials. My understanding is that he also holds a "method patent" (sort of like patenting the wheel) for compressing natural gas using a hydraulic process. The link is www.eco-fueler.com I'd like to know what others feel about this approach.
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Ernesto wrote:

I think it would be hard to look suave and cool in that one too ;)
Ximinez
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But Mercedes dealers in the US are NOT going to be selling them. Penske's United Auto Group will be the seller.
http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1808341,00.html
Does size matter? Smart car challenge to US gas guzzlers
Andrew Clark in New York Thursday June 29, 2006 The Guardian
Can anything persuade American motorists that size is not important? DaimlerChrysler is hoping to smash received wisdom in the motor industry by unleashing its tiny Smart car on the world's biggest auto market.
The manufacturer announced yesterday in Detroit that the 2.4-metre (8ft) long, two-seater car would go on sale in the US in 2008, a decade after its launch in Europe. Originally a design collaboration with the Swiss watch firm Swatch, the micro car has won plaudits for its fuel efficiency and for allowing drivers to slip into tiny parking spaces.
About 143,000 of the cars were sold in 36 countries last year but the US is an untried market. DaimlerChrysler hopes soaring petrol prices will weaken US motorists' penchant for sports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks. It wants to sell 20,000 Smart cars a year in the US. DaimlerChrysler's chairman, Dieter Zetsche (seen in the driver's seat yesterday), said: "The time has never been better for this, and I am convinced that the Smart fortwo [model] as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris."
The challenge is a stiff one. Small cars no bigger than the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic made up only 13% of vehicles on the roads in the US in 2004, according to the consultants RL Polk.
Smart cars will be priced at about $15,000 (8,200). Joseph Lorio, senior editor at the Michigan-based Automobile Magazine, was sceptical: "It would be hard to look suave and cool driving a little egg-shaped car."
.
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Karl wrote:

That is very strange.
DaimlerChrysler already has significant dealership presence in the USA.
There must be a very interesting story behind this decision.
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greek_philosophizer wrote:

diluting it with another name. It is likely a better call to present the Smart as a separate offering. It is a segmentation strategy.
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smoked salmon wrote:

That sounds logical but I would have thought the dodge/chrysler/jeep folks would have been willing to find a place for it.
Maybe there was more money in it if they dealt with Penske?
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greek_philosophizer wrote:

with Dodge. Again in this case an entire separation of brands makes sense, this vehicle is better positioned as focused sale to the niche it is directed. It is a niche vehicle. It would be lost on the lot with huge Chrysler vehicles. And it it too inexpensive to fit in with MB.
I see the logic of a new distribution channel.
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    this may be a small and insignificant but possibly one that some should take note of. the NA market consists of the US and CDN, we have had the Smart for some time and it is enjoying reasonable success judging by my neighberhood.
cheers, guenter
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Guenter Scholz wrote:

is the distribution channel here in Canada? Is it MB dealers, or a new channel?
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It is indeed the MB dealers. Mind you, they typically sell the Smart in an adjacent wing/building, My dealer has them in the Service area where they also display used MB's along with Vespa's :-)
cheers. guenter
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I am sure DC are hoping that sales reach genuinely profitable levels soon.
Popularity in Rome, Paris and London has not been enough.
DAS
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Tried that in Europe. Partly reversed. Probably too expensive to have discrete dealerships everywhere, given the low sales.
DAS
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What's so strange about the Sprinter is that the advertisement proclaiming Sprinter to be designed, built, and powered by Mercedes-Benz, but not a three-point star is found anywhere on the Sprinter other than the requisite labelling in the motor bay.
There's no Mercedes-Benz buses, trucks, vans, and industrial vehicles in the USA. They are often rebadged as Freightliners, Dodges, Sterling, Setra, etc.
A curious occurrence was that Mercedes-Benz USA had been announcing the B-Class for US market for a several months prior to its launch in early 2005. All of the sudden, that portion of website disappeared, and not a word explaining its decision to rescind the plan to sell B-Class in the USA.
I gathered that lot of Mercedes-Benz sales centres objected vehemently to selling A- and B-Class in the USA. That might be also the reason for removing C-Class Sportcoup from the US model range for 2006 despite their intensely popularity in the major cities such as San Francisco. I see at least two or three of Sportcoup every day there.
greek_philosophizer wrote:

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Some (not all) of the Sprinters I see here have the star on the front.
I see UPS changed to them in the past year.
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I am talking about the Sprinters in the USA. They are never sold by Mercedes-Benz with three-point star anywhere on the external. If they have three-point star up on the grille, it's done by the owners from the kit for about $250 or so.
Richard Sexton wrote:

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OM wrote:

Which is what I will do if I order one of the 2007's ,which is a better than even chance.
The star looks much better than a chromed cross thing.
I think that even though the new model Sprinter is available in Europe we in the USA cannot have it until after September 1 because the 15ppm Ultra Low Sulpher Diesel will not be mandated until then.
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Which is not enough to make a profit.
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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