The Smart Cars Are Coming…

December 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm 2 comments

fortwo-passion-coupe-sidebar.jpgCome January all eyes will be twinkling at the smart car, which is making its Stateside debut. It is so cute and small that the once-ubiquitous Mini Cooper is going to seem tired and big—3 feet longer—by comparison. Just imagine life with a car that gets 40+ mpg and can park in all of those not-quite-big-enough spots in the Austin-Ascan matrix that leave you cursing the two drivers who created them. Omigod, I would never have to think twice about driving anywhere, though my family would have to draw straws since it only seats two.

For that reason, and because it’s fairly untested in the U.S. (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t crash test cars until after they’re on the market), many people still think of smart cars as a souped-up go-kart. And yet, according to the NY Post, there are already more than 30,000 people who have signed on to the $99 Reservation Program, which in non-marketing language is a deposit on the $15,000 sticker price. Who will buy it?

“There’s just something about this car—it’s like an Apple product, an iPod on wheels,” said Dan Katz, a video editor who lives on the Upper West Side. “I haven’t even driven one, yet I am putting in a reservation. It’s all somewhat irrational, but I had to have it.”

Translation: I just have to be the first in my crowd to own it; otherwise I can’t say I was in the vanguard of a newly branded religion.

Smart money: After the initial wow-ness of it dies down, those of us in less fabulous cars (and SUVs; using all my energy to refrain from comment) who need more than two seats will get back to the business of pushing for some solution to the parking and other congestion problems that dog Forest Hills and the rest of NYC.


Entry filed under: congestion pricing, Forest Hills.

New Years Resolution: A Green Market Austin Street Is Up for Grabs

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shelby Meyerhoff  |  December 30, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    That’s so cool! It sounds like a great alternative for someone who lives in an urban area and wants to save gas — and at a good price too. As you note, it won’t work for families with children, but for a certain demographic it’s a nice choice.

  • 2. karbeth  |  December 31, 2007 at 7:50 am

    It is very cool. They’re adorable to look at, and it’s something to admire in Europe–the ingrained sense of having less is by and large a social compact.

    My fear, at least in NY, which is so rife with consumerism for the sake of consumerism, will be that people will buy them because it’s the gotta-have item of ’08 and so they can say they’re “green.” That’s different than making a conscious attempt to scale back and stay back. It reminds me a a bit of everyone in LA having rushed out to get a Prius (hybrid car) as their…3rd or 4th car.


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