Blog: Dave LeggettSmart cars 'in context'

Dave Leggett | 3 June 2006

I spent a few days in Rome this week (vacation, not work). One thing that I couldn't fail to notice was the popularity of the Smart ForTwo. The diminutive car clearly has strong appeal in the centre of the city with its narrow roads and alleys. Two-wheeler scooters are still massively popular and there are a fair number of microcars (Aixam, Ligier) on the road also as well as the motorcycle-based Piaggio pickups ('Gamma Ape' - good to see them still plying the streets with fresh vegetables). 

The Smart ForTwo fits snugly into the transportation preferences and needs of a city such as Rome. I have criticised the Smart ForTwo before, but in a place like Rome it doesn't look at all out of place. But selling it in places where it is more 'out of context' is the problem I think.  

Nice to see a few Lancias about (they don't sell them in Britain; Lancia Thesis really is something else) and I couldn't help noticing that Italian national/state institutions - not just the police - still seem 100% loyal to Fiat Group products. It must be helpful to Fiat to get those big domestic fleet deals 'automatically'; Rover never enjoyed support like that.

For those of you with an interest in statistics and incentives and how they are used and abused, a book I picked up at the airport makes for a lively read (below link). Economics made interesting (at last!).

Freakonomics


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