Is smaller better for U.S. car consumers?
ZAP betting on Smart Car’s success, but some observers skeptical
"ZAP’s plan is to sell 15,000 Smart Cars updated to American road standards through its U.S. distribution network of dealers. Schneider said he already has some $2 billion in orders, far exceeding his initial goal of $300 million, and is preparing the 2005 model year Smart Cars — the first it intends to Americanize and offer through its dealer network by September.
DaimlerChrysler halted its plan to bring the tiny car stateside, and so ZAP has worked instead to buy the vehicles from a network of independent European suppliers, updating them for U.S. use to meet American safety and pollution standards. ZAP plans to sell the coupe version of the car for around $21,000 and the convertible for $25,000. In Europe, the Smart Car coupe sells for about $15,000 and the convertible for $18,000."