To see just how normal the tiny Smart car has become in America, look no further than the news that the company is now offering purchase incentives to buyers of the cute little urban transport critters.
Not that the Smart ForTwo needs much help in the sales department. Word comes from the Penske Automotive Group, U.S. distributors of the Smart set an impressive 24,622 total sales of the diminutive city car in 2008. And yes, that’s the same Penske that basically owns the Borg Warner trophy, as well as recently buying Saturn from GM. Smart dealers are happy, saying they could have sold even more had they been available.
But that was 2008, and now it’s 2009, and sales have dropped. Sales are down nearly 16-percent from the first five months of 2008 and sales in the month of May sales, though, were down a disturbing 56.6 percent.
Ergo, time for some good old-fashioned deal making. Penske will offer its first-ever incentives on the ForTwo from now until the end of July. Buyers may qualify for 4.2-percent financing through Daimler Financial Services for the purchase of a new 2009
If this financial carrot works, expect it to be extended a bit longer. Penske is also looking at allowing dealerships to order new cars and forego the mandatory $99 reservation fee paid by the customer. The upshot of that would be to place more new vehicles on dealer lots for buyers to choose from.
Buyers’ incentives, can’t get much more American that that.
Photo from Flickr user T.M.O.F.