SANTA ROSA, CA – Within hours of putting the first legal U.S. SMART Car on eBay, bidders rushed to become the first to own one, said U.S. distributor ZAP. ZAP says that more than 10,000 people have visited the eBay auction site, according to the eBay counter, and 239 people have put the SMARTCAR on their eBay Watch List. ZAP is selling a DOT-and EPA-approved version of the car.
Since announcing its intentions to sell the SMART Car in the U.S., ZAP said 8,100 hand-raisers have visited its Website stating their intent to purchase the two-passenger microcar. Car-buyers are now placing reservation fees to be next in line to purchase the cars when they go on sale, sometime in early 2005, says CEO Steve Schneider.
ZAP said that the auction had to be reinitiated after it was discovered that new technical information needed to be added, including a misprint on the Vehicle Identification Number. EBay software does not allow the change of information without relisting the auction. Frank Giovinazzi, Web editor for the American International Auto Dealers Association (AIADA), reported that the SMART Car has already sold in more than 30 countries, more than 500,000 units globally. ZAP was named in Advertising Age´s Marketing 100 in 2000 for its innovative marketing.
ZAP is moving ahead with the U.S. marketing and distribution for the SMART Car after announcing federal DOT and EPA approval at the San Francisco International Auto Show. ZAP is working to establish a nationwide dealer network that caters to energy-efficient car-buyers, including cars that run on electricity and fuel cells.
All the traffic to ZAP´s listing of the SMART Car on eBay has also attracted attention to its other transportation and energy products. ZAP´s Information Technology Manager Yuan Wang says that sales for ZAP´s new Portable Energy and ZAPPY3 electric scooter have been increasing based on the interest in the SMART Car.