Monday, July 16, 2007

Analysts Say This Little Car Is Going to Sell Big (at First)

Smart May Find It Has Limited Appeal in U.S. After First Year
By Jean Halliday Published: July 16, 2007

DETROIT ( -- Are SUV-loving Americans ready for the Smart Car? Even though the micro-vehicle is rather odd-looking, seats only two and tops out at 91 mph, it will be a hit -- at least for a while -- after it hits the U.S. market in January, auto experts predict. But they question its long-term outlook.
Knowing U.S. consumers had safety questions, Smart went on tour to show off its rebuilt body. The timing is good here for Smart due to increased environmental awareness and fuel efficiency, said Vic Doolan, nonexecutive chairman of consultant Courland Automotive Practice, former president-CEO of Volvo Cars of North America and ex-president of BMW of North America. (Smart is designed to deliver 40 miles per gallon, and the brand was an "official global partner" for Live Earth.) Mr. Doolan said another plus is that savvy auto magnate Roger Penske is the U.S. distributor for Smart, which is owned by Germany's DaimlerChrysler.
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