Pluging demand in the United States hits Daimler’s Smart brand

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 31, 2010

Because of the drop in demand for the Smart two-seater in the US, it’s likely that worldwide sales of Daimler AG's microcar brand will fall to 100,000 units, according to German magazine Der Spiegel. In 2009, 114,000 microcars were sold. Der Spiegel also reported that for 2010, US sales of Smart ForTwo will account for about a third of the 25,000 units sold in 2008.

Dealers have complained about losing customers because it is a two-seater and because of Smart’s limited offering of only two model variations (a coupe and a cabrio).

The magazine also reported that in Europe, those who considered Smart cars bought the Fiat 500 instead. Daimler reports that Smart sales in the US dropped to almost 70% to slightly lower than 4,000 in the first seven months of the year.

According to Daimler numbers, US sales of Smart cars fell nearly 70% to a figure just under 4,000 in the first seven months. In July, 560 cars were sold, a 60.5% drop when compared with July 2009 sales. When it comes to global sales, there was a 20% drop to 8,400 units in July. Meanwhile, volume fell17.4% to 59,100 in the first seven months.

Earlier this month, Joachim Schmidt, Daimler's sales and marketing head, said that he expects demand to go up in the third quarter with the launching of a facelifted Smart ForTwo.

Daimler also said that he believes Smart sales in the US will start improving after it launched a customization program in July for paint color choices and body wrap designs dubbed "Smart Expressions."

Smart is confident that the brand will benefit largely from the offering of a test fleet of 250 ForTwos for lease in eight US markets this October. Sales will start in 40 states next year.

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