IT might make tiny cars, but Smart is enjoying huge success! Latest figures from the SMMT reveal the manufacturer is one of the few firms benefiting from the credit crunch as buyers switch from fuel-hungry motors to its petrol sipping alternatives.
September’s figures show sales currently stand at 5,029 compared to 2,940 sold at the same stage last year – a dramatic rise and one that confirms buyers are more interested in smaller more economical cars as times get tough.
Dealers are reaping the benefits of the sales surge. Alex Drury, sales manager at Smart in Portsmouth said they seem to be benefiting from people downsizing their second car.
‘People are part-exchanging all sorts of cars from 4x4s to super minis, but it is mainly the second family car business where we are succeeding,’ explained Drury.
‘People are buying into a brand that’s right for the market with benefits of cheap road tax and good miles to the gallon. At Portsmouth our success is such that we should finish 110 peer cent ahead of this year’s target.’
Smart UK confirmed that figures were up dramatically on the previous year and said that plans are afoot to increase their green focus with a first ever hybrid to be launched in November and the a diesel CDI due next year.
Smart is also piloting 100 fully electric vehicles which are being run by corporate customers with a view to rolling these out to other markets.
Neal Page, corporate manager at Smart in Guildford thinks the brand’s success could even lead to a strain at the German factory.
‘Everything is going very well especially as finance is the big issue and people are looking for cheaper and greener motoring,’ he told Car Dealer.
‘But we only have one factory and the greater demand could lead to restricted production, especially if Smart is a hit in the US.’
By DOUG DRINKWATER