The monthly figure was down 40 per cent, which certainly attracted a few headlines.
Especially as it was a complete contrast to the month before, where Smart was up 9 per cent. So, had buyers quickly fallen out with the micro car?
No. It’s just a quirk of the figures, says Smart product group manager, Andrew Gellatly. And proves why the full picture of a brand cannot be found in monthly figures.
‘We launched the new Fortwo in September 2007,’ explains Gellatly. ‘But we actually sold out of the old model some time in April.
‘This meant that, for the rest of the year, dealers moved onto selling the new car, for September delivery.
‘It gave us plenty of time for dealer training of the new car, and meant we could really gear up for the launch. Training events were already underway in June. But it also meant that the sales curve for 2007 was rather an odd shape.’
He reveals that there was a flurry of registrations towards the end of the year, as deliveries were made of all the cars in the system.
This is why October 2008 was down on 2007 – there were simply so many cars being delivered to customers last year!
Not that the October headlines revealed this. Just goes to show how careful we all need to be when analysing today’s up and down figures…
By Richard Aucock