Smart is finally set to unveil the return of the ForFour, and America may or may not be a recipient of the new car, just like it was with its original varation. For the brand to take off, and to better the acceptance of fuel efficient cars in this country, it's about time we get a new player in the competition. I believe Smart should give us the new ForFour along with the ForTwo when they launch in the near future.
With the boom in fuel efficient cars in the U.S. and the wider embrace of the so-called "micro-cars" I don't think it's unrealistic to expect great sales from a 4-door Smart here.
I'd like to offer this:
While folks may not be drawn away from the 2-door Smart to other, larger 4-doors, I could expect the opposite. The ForFour as it is known could be a real draw away from alternatives such as the efficient Fit and Prius (both 4 doors), which are doing fantastic in the States.
Mini has proved that going from 1 car to an expanded lineup can work when:
A) The correct products are offered at the right time.
B) The new products supplementing the original don't stray from the core values of the brand's roots.
C) The marketing department is properly and able to get the word out, and make the car appealing to the right people.
Smart has done the first one very well. The Smart was introduced at the perfect time, at the height of the gas crisis in the flop of the American economy.
The other two, not so much. I think where Smart has really failed in the US is the lack of marketing. People still don't know all of the facts behind the Smart. I'm still asked if mine is a hybrid on a weekly basis, because no one here even knows the basics.
Minis are looked at as viable options in the small car realm because they are perceived as an established brand, with a wide range of options. Smart can not make the same claim here, and I really REALLY wish it could.
I'd like to be the voice of a petition I'll begin, and we'll see where it goes. Maybe I can start to show everyone that Smart can make it big here in America if it really tries, and that starts with getting us the same perks (paint colors even, if not turbo engines) as the rest of the world.
The Smart Car Of America forum is a great example of a very large collection of Smart owners that loves the ForTwo, is very passionate about the car, and would love to see great things happen, but at the same time, we feel a little neglected.
We'd like that to change.