$12 000 Smart in the US.

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The 2008 Smart will start at $12 000 when it goes on sale in the US next year.

But wait, that won’t get you Air conditioning, power windows or even a sereo!
To get that, you’ll have to step up to the $14 000 Passion model.
You’ll also get the glass roof and alloy wheels.

The “convertible” will set you back $17 000.

I think the “base” model is pretty much a rip-off and nobody in this country would buy a new car with no air and no radio.
At $14 000 the “Passion” model competes with much roomier cars with established reputations.
I have yet to read a very good review of the Smart.

I like small cars, but I would pass on this one.
Even though it’ll be a lot of fun to see them driving around…

Conversation 18 comments

  1. If you can walk into a dealership and buy this at 12,000 before tax and destination I think people will buy it. Yes without air is a hard sell to SoCal residents the primary buyers at first. But for someone like me looking for a cheap car to drive back to and from work and quick errands this is the perfect car.

    You can’t really walk out of a dealership with a car under 14K anyways.

    This is one West LA’er who has the Smart on his short list of cars.

  2. acutally, making a ‘stipper’ model available was a great idea. the smart is supposed to be a no-nonsense, fuel efficient city run-about. i dont get people’s obsession with speed and luxury (is it an american thing?). some cars arent meant for that(ie: the smart car). anyway, this base model offers a cheaper alternative to a great idea. also, i’m sure fleets and small businesses would be interested in a cheaper smart.

  3. Interesting, but I will pass on it too unless I have my very own little island somewhere in the pacific. Like in LOST.
    I can see NYPD buying a fleet of these for ticket meter use.

  4. Yeah it seems way too expensive. $12,000 gets you a Yaris 2-door hatchback which is small enough to be a great city car, but big enough to be more pratical than the (un)Smart. You also get air con standard at that price. A little over $13K gets you ABS, CD player, etc.

    Sure the Yaris doesn’t have the attention grabbing 50mpg fuel consumption of the Smart, but it’s not exactly a gas guzzler either, it will go faster than 70mph if you have the need.

  5. $12K being the teaser model that nobody will want. A yaris hatch is $12K with air. That saves $2K to go toward gas. I guess it will sell to the “look at me!” crowd and hollywood nit-wits.

  6. air conditioning on a smart is a must not only for warm weather, but also to prevent the windows from fogging up in cooler weather. I guess the prices are so high because of the unfavorable dollar/euro rate.

  7. Vince I hate to tell you but it is absolutely NO fun to look at Smarts every day. They look like a telephone booth on wheels – and who ever considered a telephone booth lots of fun to look at?

  8. I don’t think I’ll even consider Smart for its price

    My 98 corolla is getting old and I’ll need a replacement soon, I was really looking forward for any small reliable efficient cars such as this

    at the end of the day, I think Toyota will take my money again

    I’m no Toyota fanboy, I sure would like to see more competitions – it’s the only best thing for us customers

  9. i was initially excited on the prospect of the smart coming here. with a kid on the way, i just couldn’t justify spending $14k on a little 2-seaters when i could get a yaris, scion xa etc with practical 4-door, 4-seaters that get not much less mpg.

    i think the smart will be bought by those affluents who must have all things that are novel and hip. i can also see a DINK buying one.

  10. I see these cars everyday in Canada, they are a joke, mostly driven by old British people and Euro-wannabes. I highly doubt it will be successful in the US, and they look terrible and the interior is extremely cheap for the price.

  11. these are already for sale in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Saw about a dozen of them for sale over the weekend.

  12. All I can think of when I see these little cars is what it would be like if my friends old ’75 Buick Riviera t-boned one doing about 70 mph. SSSEEEEE YYYAAAAAA! Would’nt wanna be ya!

  13. The economics of that price don’t seem to add up in the US like they do in Europe. It almost seems destined at this point to be a status item amongst city dwellers. I’m sure I’ll see them everywhere here in San Francisco, where coincidentally lack of air conditioning isn’t much of an issue. They might as well call it the northern california edition.

  14. TO THE COMMENT AT 6:10:
    Have you seen the SMART or Youtube crash videos of the ForTwo. The car will be fine against that Buick.
    Also the price is fine for the base model. Like some have mentioned this will be great for some company advertising/marketing and maybe small deliveries.

    In L.A. I just saw a Smart roadster Model. I wish they still made that model that would be SWEEEEET!!!

  15. As much as I want to like this car, I can’t get past its poor reliability record. Although not as unique, for $1850 more I’d buy the Honda Fit with air and stereo standard.

    And two more seats.

    And more storage space.

    And more horsepower.

    And reliability.

    And…well, you get the picture.

  16. “greg said…

    these are already for sale in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Saw about a dozen of them for sale over the weekend.
    5:45 PM”

    these are the “americanized” version sold thru zap! affiliates. they are actually used ones from europe. as a side note, daimlerchrysler and zap are in court over this issue. i don’t think zap! is advertizing the smart on its website anymore.

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