Usually when you hear of plunging auto sales, you think of Chrysler (sorry Marchionne, but it’s probably statistically true as well). Sales of Chrysler Group LLC were down 44 percent in 2009 when compared with 2008.
However, we now have another culprit – Daimler AG’s Smart USA. The brand saw a 40 percent drop in annual sales last year and to make matters worst, it sold only 278 units in January, down from 864 in December. January sales were also down 84.3 percent from the same period an year earlier, when Smart sold 1,776 units of its ForTwo coupe.
Nonetheless, company officials say that they know how to get back on track. Jill Lajdziak, former Saturn boss, says that the company will go back on the road to do shows and offer public test drives. A company spokesman says that Smart is seeing a “lack of brand awareness and misconceptions regarding its safety.”
A plug-in electric Smart ForTwo is also due in the fourth-quarter; but all that will do is raise awareness about the brand since only 250 units will be available in select markets.
– By: Kap Shah
Source: NY Times