Here’s the problem I have with the new breed of tiny cars, such as the Smart USA fortwo or even the vintage Mini Coopers that I see in my neighborhood every once in a while: sometimes their drivers park them in spots that are large enough to accommodate a normal old four-door sedan. This chaps my hide. Shouldn’t these drivers be required to park in the tiny spots, past which the rest of us parking-spot-hunters must wistfully drive?
Well, it’s a conundrum that NYC fortwo drivers may now choose to avoid. Penske Automotive Group, which owns the Smart USA brand, recently inked a deal with Central Parking System, Inc., a private parking company in New York, through which Smart fortwo owners receive a 50% discount on parking rates.
Central Parking is the third parking company in the New York area with which Penske has made a special arrangement – fortwo drivers can also get discounts with Meyers Parking and Icon Parking Systems in Manhattan, and with AviStar Airport Parking, with lots at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports. But with more than 350 parking lots and garages in Manhattan and the NYC vicinity, Central Parking is the big fish in the area.
Now, Smart USA is looking for similar deals for fortwo drivers in cities all over the country and says it is in discussions with other parking services. Smart USA dealers are also marketing the deals as an extra perk to potential fortwo buyers.
An offer like this might seal the deal for a potential fortwo buyer who hates to waste time looking for parking and would rather just pay a service to stow their diminutive ride. Not me, though. If I drive a fortwo, I’d relish the opportunity to slide into tiny parking spots. After all, that’s the best part of the car’s curb appeal.
Smart USA is also planning to pilot a unique car-sharing program called car2go, beginning this fall in Austin, Texas.