Sunday

One Car That Keeps On Selling


The 2009 Ford F150 debut has been moved back about two months to give dealers time to unload the oversupply of 2008 models still gathering dust on America's showroom floors. GM sales are off 45% from a year ago. Ford is down 32%. The whole industry is having weak sales. GM and Chrysler are even trying to figure out how to buy each other with taxpayer money so they can give most of Chrysler's models the axe.

Meanwhile, there's one car brand that sells for sticker every time and has since it came out. It's sold out constantly and dealers take orders for the cars that haven't even been built yet. Dealers can't get enough inventory and are practically begging for more. It's smart. The Smart car, that is.

In its first year 25,000 of the cute little cars barely stopped in their showrooms on their way into consumer's driveways nationwide.

Other brands not only offer discounts but throw in rebates and anything else that helps move the iron.

Meanwhile, Smart dealers are being urged not to charge more than the MSRP sticker price, but the temptation is big. There's not a lot of profit when the sticker price bottoms out at under $12,000 and tops out at under $17,000. The margin is thin but let's hope dealers do the right thing by their customers.

We first saw the Smart on the streets of Rome 4 years ago with a Mercedes badge on it and it was remarkable. When it finally got to the USA, most of it was the same and US buyers reacted just like the Europeans did --- they loved it. In fact, we would have bought one for our office vehicle except that the selling dealership network is limited and the dealer who had one was a dealer we've sued lots of times before over sales fraud issues so we just wouldn't go near the place.

Still, the Smart car is a great buy with good looks and great mileage. Just be careful if you're in the market for a Smart car. And if you end up with a lemon, don't forget to call us. We know how to get rid of lemons because it's what we do. Everyday.