Over the past six months, Smart USA, sales have fallen a whopping 61% compared with the same period in 2009. To bolster its sagging sales, Smart has launched a customization program for owners of its ForTwo minicar. The program allows owners to customize their vehicles using either vinyl exterior wraps or by replacing the six interchangeable body panels.
In a statement Smart USA president Jill Lajdziak said, “The Smart ForTwo’s interchangeable body panels make this unique level of customization possible.”
Prior to her role with Smart, Lajdziak headed up General Motors Company’s defunct Saturn division. Penske considered buying the rights to the Saturn brand when it went on the auction block following GM’s bankruptcy restructuring last summer. In September, Penske withdrew its offer when negations with a third-party manufacturer broke down.
ForTwo owners will have the option of choosing from 93 stock colors or creating a customized color pallet for their vehicles. Smart says the process will cost $1,550 to create the colored panels and that installation will cost an additional $300 on average, based on an hourly labor cost of $100.
A spokesman for the automaker said the panels can be shipped to the customer’s dealer in as little as a few days.
In addition to colored body panels, owners will also have the option of applying one of 35 vinyl body wrap designs to their vehicles. The wraps will be available in matte and glossy finish and will cost $1,350 plus a $300 installation fee. Smart says customers may have the option of designing their own body wraps at some future date. The spokesman said the wraps can be applied in a few hours at the dealership.
The new customization is currently only being offered in the United States through Smart’s U.S. distribution partner, Penske Automotive Group.
The Smart ForTwo minicar has an MSRP of $11,990 and has an EPA fuel efficiency rating of 33 mpg city / 41 mpg hwy. Smart is owned by German automaker Daimler AG. Last month, Smart vehicle sales fell to only 577 units, down 48% from a year earlier. For the first six months of this year, the automaker sold 3,349 vehicles.
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