Smart Follows Opel Out Of Australia Amid Weak Sales
In 2013, Opel left Australia amid poor sales in the land down under. This year, it’s Smart that is bowing out of the market.
Just-Auto reports the Smart ForTwo would soon return to Europe after finding little success in Australia, due mainly to consumers not wanting to pay a premium on a city car; the ForTwo’s $18,990 AUD ($14,727 USD) price is nearly on par with the much bigger, more roomier Toyota Corolla.
Since arriving in 2003, Smart has sold over 4,400 of its models, 3,517 being the aforementioned ForTwo. However, demand began to fall in 2005, and reached a point that by 2013, the brand only took orders online. Additionally, only 22 ForTwos have been sold in 2015 so far as the Australian market recovers.
Mercedes-Benz said it would continue to offer parts and service for the vehicles, and would do its best to move the remaining 60 days’ worth of inventory before Smart’s days in Australia came to a close.
My guess is this would be for someone who truely only planned to drive around town; and they would have other means of traveling about the country. I was under the impression that Australians used to prefer RWD vehicles because many of them owned a boat trailer. Is that still the case?
What is this "As the market recovers" about? As if the health of the overall automotive marketplace has anything to do with smart's abject failure. Its just a truly pointless car.
Smarts were never advertised in OZ, and most were bought by older folks as a 2nd or 3rd car .Just like Fords Ka , they weren't aimed at their target demographic. I was at a car auction last year and saw a perfect condition Smart sell for $1400... Now to utes, most Ford and Holden utes were being bought by 20-30 year old cashed up mine workers .Those same mines never bought Toyota's Hi luxes .The vehicle of choice WAS the landcruiser short cab and chassis. A vehicle which was built in OZ,not imported. The market is flooded with ex mine utes,low mileage but never serviced . With the collapse of OZ's mining industry most of those who were buying the utes as toys have gone from the market completely. For those in the know,for the last few years the 4x4 has been the Isuzu D-Max which has outsold all of the others. The 2nd are Mitsubishi's . Those who live in OZ will know that 99% of the population lives on the easst coast and those who live in the west beyond the dividing range once drove Toyota's. Parts and service costs have driven most new Toyota buyers from this part of the market and they have flocked to the D-max in Droves. As RWD cars, the market is now that of the small car,a big seller here in my area are those ridiculous Fiats which look like a bloated 500 .Car rego fees and fuel price ripoffs from the big two (Coles and woolworths) have wiped out most big car sales for the average driver in 2015.
I know a fellow who works in an auto body shop that bought a 2-year old Smart for $10k. He proceeded to gussy it up with that plastichrome stick-on trim, and, truthfully, it doesn't look all that bad. I sat in the passenger side and was surprised how comfy it was (and I'm 6'4"). Yes, the little motor is rough, and the transmission is pretty god-awful, but for some, it's enough. It keeps the rain off, and gets you where you need to go. There is a market for this car, it's just too expensive for what it is.