Going Green

By Hannah Wallace May 31, 2008

As gas prices and traffic congestion continue to soar and consumers continue to go gaga over green, the Wilde Automotive family’s bid to become one of only 74 dealerships nationally—and the only dealer from the Skyway to Naples—to sell the Smart Car, a tiny two-seater manufactured by Mercedes-Benz and Daimler, was, well, smart.

Wilde competed with dealerships across the country to sell the car, and was selected largely because of its No. 1 customer satisfaction scores as rated by J.D. Power and Associates, according to Phillip Thrapp, sales administrator at Wilde Jaguar.

Each Smart Fortwo car is a mere 8.8 feet long and 5.1 feet tall and gets 40 mpg on the highway. Only water soluble paints are used during the manufacturing process, and all the body panels with molded-in colors are recyclable, as are the dashboards and steering wheel covers. The Smart Fortwo starts at $11,590 and goes up to $18,700.

Customers have been enthusiastic, says Thrapp. While car sales everywhere have been weak, in only one month Wilde had more than 350 reservations for the Smart Fortwo. “That’s a huge number, very unusual,” he says. Because of the high demand and number of customer orders, Thrapp predicts no Smart Cars will be sold off the lot this year.

Local buyers range from the “very green” to retirees who do most of their driving up and down Longboat Key to parents of teens who want a car that allows only one passenger.And yes, you can drive it on the Interstate. “I live in Ellenton and I drove one home at 75 mph and it did fine,” Thrapp says.

Alex Krinsky

Filed under
Show Comments