Gas prices soar and so does the interest in Smart Cars

10:43 PM, Mar 2, 2011   |    comments
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  • Gas prices soar and so does the interest in Smart Cars
  • Gas prices soar and so does the interest in Smart Cars

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. -- They used to be curious, but now the folks walking through the door at Lupient's Kia dealership in Brooklyn Park are serious. They're flooding in to kick the tires on those tiny, two-seat Smart Cars.

"The sales are starting to creep up, people are noticing the hurt," Lupient Smart Center Manager Doug Gustner said, adding that as the price of fuel skyrockets, sales of the small cars will too. "When it gets to four or five dollars (for a gallon of gas), stretching it out by 2 fold or more, it makes a huge difference."

When the Smart Car was introduced in the US in 2008, they sold a lot of them.

"After the initial release of the product, they had a huge response and then it kind of faded, gas went down into the two range," Gustner explained.

No pun intended, but sales tanked, falling 41 percent nationwide in 2010. But, the cost to fill up your tank took a huge jump in December and Smart Car sales went up 170 percent from November to December of last year. Sales are up 17 percent in the US so far in 2011.

"I like that it doesn't take too long to fill it up and I don't have to spend too much at the pump," KARE 11 employee and Smart Car Owner Craig Wolfe said. Wolfe bought the fifth smart sold in Minnesota in 2008 and has since added a convertible Smart Car to his stable. "In the summer I'll get upwards of 40 miles to the gallon. In the winter it's in the mid-thirties," he said.

Gustner says a new one starts at $11,000, but you've got to remember, it's a two person car, there is no back seat. If you can sacrifice a little space, you might be able to save a bundle on gas.

(Copyright 2011 KARE. All rights reserved)

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