Smart USA President Jill Lajdziak is touting the ForTwo vehicle's interchangeable body panels, which allow for customization.
Smart USA, facing a 61 percent six-month drop in sales from last year, is offering a customization program for owners of the ForTwo minicar that includes six interchangeable color panels or vinyl exterior wraps. The program debuted the week of July 5.
The Smart ForTwo's interchangeable body panels make this unique level of customization possible, Lajdziak said in a statement. Lajdziak joined Smart USA in January after heading the now-defunct Saturn brand for General Motors.
Customers can choose from 93 colors or custom-match the car to a personalized color. The ForTwo has six exterior color body panels that are swapped out at a dealership in 90 minutes.
The panels can be shipped to a store within a few days, said a Smart USA spokesman. The cost starts at $1,550, plus installation, said Smart.
Smart also offers 35 designs of laminated vinyl wraps in either matte or gloss. The wraps cost $1,350 plus installation. In the future, customers also may be able to design their own wraps, but it's unclear if or when that service will be available. The process takes a few hours, the spokesman said.
The cars are distributed in the U.S. by Penske Automotive Group. The customization program is being offered only in the United States.
Smart's U.S. sales dropped to 577 cars in June, down 48 percent from June 2009. For the first six months, sales fell 61 percent to 3,349 cars.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.