About 50 Smart fortwo vehicles will arrive in Hawaii next week to kick start the inventory at the first Smart car dealership in the islands.
Smart Center Honolulu will open later this month at 540 Lagoon Drive.
It is owned by Hawaii Automotive Retailing Group Inc., led by Inder Dosanjh and Ernest Guajardo.
Another 200 models will arrive "in the next month or so," Guajardo, Hawaii Automotive managing partner, said. Hawaii Automotive also operates Cadillac, Buick, GMC and Saturn dealerships in the Islands.
Hawaii is the 37th star on the Smart USA flag, according to Rick Bourgoise, Smart USA Distributor LLC director of communications. The company is a subsidiary of Michigan-based Penske Automotive Group Inc.
The diminutive, fuel-sipping cars have been sold in the U.S. since 2008 and are now available from 77 dealerships.
A Smart fortwo is 8 feet, 9.6 inches long, 5 feet, 1.2 inches tall and 5 feet, 1.2 inches wide. To compare, a Mini Cooper is 12 feet, 1.6 inches long, 4 feet, 7.4 inches tall and 5 feet, 6.3 inches wide. A Honda Fit is 13 feet, 5.6 inches long, 5 feet tall and 5 feet, 6.7 inches wide.
Such dimensions are important to know when the world is full of miscreants that selfishly, with no consideration for others, take up a car-and-a-half worth of space along streets where parking is free. One needs to improve one’s odds, where possible.
The Smart is available in five models, or trim levels, that range in price from $11,990 to $20,990. That’s MSRP, excluding all the extra fees you hear in broadcast commercial disclaimers.
"It is the most fuel-efficient nonhybrid vehicle," and gets 41 miles per gallon on the highway and 36 in the city, and perhaps because of its small size, "we’re huge in very, very urban areas," Bourgoise said. While powered by a gasoline burning, internal combustion engine, "because of its fuel efficiency, it does play very well for folks (concerned about) sustainability and conservation."
The Smart fortwo electric drive will be introduced to the U.S. market this week, and the Hawaii dealership presence gives Smart USA a retail outlet in the islands through which to sell them.
Smart cars are "engineered by Mercedes-Benz," and half of its dealership arrangements are store-within-a-store deals with Mercedes dealers, Bourgoise said. Stand-alone dealerships make up the other half.
Hawaii Automotive plans to open neighbor island dealerships in the future, Guajardo said.
Pablo’s drops its Irish
The restaurant and bar that was to open as Pablo McGinty’s, a combination Mexican restaurant and Irish pub in the former Compadres space at Ward Centre, will instead open as Pablo’s Mexican Cantina.
"We actually dropped the McGinty’s," said Naoya Kusano, general manager. Also left on the restaurant concept design floor: the Irish-pub fusion concept. Pablo’s will open as a full-service, casual dining, Mexican restaurant with a bar.
Initially slated to open in the spring, it is expected to open some time next month.
Like its predecessor, it will offer a range of tequilas and house drinks.
It will initially be open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., but plans to open for lunch a short time after opening. Plans are also in the works for a Sunday brunch, Kusano said.