Last November, when we talked with SmartUSA boss Dave Schembri at the LA Auto Show, he acknowledged that a number of the people who had placed early orders for the tiny fortwo had canceled before taking delivery. At that time, the cancellation rate was about thirty percent, although most of those cars were being taken up by people who wanted immediate delivery. Apparently, that situation has changed as dealers who last year typically had no more than a meager handful of cars in stock now sometimes have dozens.
The general economic and overall sales situation has deteriorated significantly since November, so it should come as no surprise that sales would be off. Many smart fortwo sales were as second or third cars and, with Bernie Maddoff on his way to jail, even people who previously had extra money are now reconsidering their options. We've asked for a comment from SmartUSA about whether they are seeing an increase in order cancellations or simply fewer people stepping up to buy the "orphans," but have yet to get a reply. We'll update you if we hear anything new.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub req'd]