<VV> Re: No Corvair - Is the Smart Car smart enough to sell in NA?

Bill Elliott Corvair at fnader.com
Sun Oct 9 17:45:54 EDT 2005

I doubt it would be a big seller in its current form. I'm big into micro and mini cars... and the Smart has one HUGE thing going for it (style) and lots of things 
against it (it's artifically smaller than it needs to be, no luggage room, impractical, high price, heavier than it should be, etc). The most successful small cars 
have also been EXTREMELY practical (VW Beetle, Mini and Mini Cooper, etc). The Smart isn't even selling well in Europe.

There are plenty of lower priced practical alternatives... the Mini One (we only get the Cooper performance models here, the Mini One is the economy 
version and would be around $13k here... and the Mini Diesel would be about $15k). The Japanese make smaller, lower power models that are sold in 
Europe and even smaller, even lower priced (K-class, 660cc cars) that are mainly sold in Japan.

These lighter smaller cars are generally kept out of the American market by US safety and emissions specs (originated by Nader's successful attack on the 
US auto industry)... even though no one can really say that our safety specs are any "better" than Europe's... just "different". Light weight means more 
power and more mileage from smaller engines.

Want to really make a difference? I think K-class cars should be given US safety and emissions waivers AND get the same tax break the MUCH more 
expensive and polluting to build "Hybrid" cars... you'd then see them selling by the thousands and providing a good alternative for many, many drivers. 

Just as a single example of a sporting version, Honda made a mid-engine, 660cc roadster (Honda Beat) for the equilvant of about $11,000 that got 
something close to 50mpg and was a blast to drive. 


The company that can make a small, stylish fun to drive car with enough power to get out of its own way for $13-15k will sell a boatload.

Corvair content: In modern dollars, a Corvair would be around $14,000.


On Sun, 9 Oct 2005 14:15:46 -0700 (GMT-07:00), Garth Stapon wrote:


>I just read an interview with the new chief at Daimler (Juergen Schremp sp?) and he clearly stated that in view of recent fuel price increases they are 
looking at importing Smart cars into NA.

>If this happens, it will be very interesting to see if NA drivers respond with their pocket books.

>Regards, Garth

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