Smart dealers in Oklahoma choose diverging paths

The two Smart dealers in Oklahoma are taking different paths.

After leaning in spring toward dropping Smart sales, the operators of Smart Center of Oklahoma City reconsidered and will continue to sell the brand even after the move to electric only.

“We’ve done OK with Smart, and we’re profitable for the year. It’s the proposition of our dealer principal that you never know when these products are going to get hot,” said Todd Bondy, operating partner and general manager of the Bob Howard-owned store. “It doesn’t cost very much to stock the thing, so there isn’t much risk in continuing to be a dealer.”

The Oklahoma City store has sold just one or two electric Smarts in the past year vs. 40 or so gasoline-powered ForTwos, Bondy said. But the store’s EV sales prospects should improve with the debut of the redesigned Smart Electric Drive later this summer and as other Smart dealers potentially drop their sales agreements.

That’s what will happen at the Oklahoma City store’s nearest competitor. Smart Center Tulsa will stop selling new Smarts, said Greg Kach, managing partner of Jackie Cooper Imports, which owns the store.

The Tulsa store has “maybe sold one electric in [the] last 18 months,” Kach told Automotive News in an email.

Kach’s customer base goes back to the first days of Smart in the U.S. The Tulsa store was one of the brand’s debut outlets in 2008 after signing on with original Smart distributor Penske Automotive Group.

Jackie Cooper Imports will continue as a service-only outlet. Kach said he feels “obligated and compelled to continue servicing my current customers. [It] would not be the right thing to abandon them without service.”