File this under: “It Was Bound To Happen Eventually.”
According to recent reports, panicked consumers who hastily flocked to smart car dealerships in an attempt to escape crushing fuel prices are beginning to come to their senses. With gas hovering back around the manageable $2 mark, there’s no longer any socially acceptable reason to be seen driving a smart car. As aesthetically appealing and crush-proof as a can of tuna fish, sales of the $12,000, 8′ x 8″ smart car spiked last summer when gas prices rose to nearly $5 a gallon. Now, however, many consumers have realized that a combined fuel-consumption average of 36 mpg is not an acceptable excuse for driving perhaps one of the gayest vehicles ever to be engineered in modern history. Thanks to smart’s progressive system that relies almost entirely on individual online ordering as well as the company’s policy to refund 100% of the $99 initial down payment, many customers have simply abandoned their smart plans and left dealers with a significant overstock.
While smart assures that sales have not spiraled completely, on average, dealers only managed to move 1,415 cars during the month of February, a noticeably smaller number than the 2,400 unit-average seen during spring/summer 2008. Total, smart estimates that there are roughly 30,000 customers who shelled out $99 for the down payment but have since lost interest.