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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2010, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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The ‘smartest’ car at the Motor Show PR Newswire UK - PR Newswire UK - Oct 25, 2000

Some of the top-flight cars on display at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham are capable of speeds exceeding 200 mph.

But the tiny, German built smart car, which can just about manage a maximum of 85 mph has been attracting crowds just as strongly as the Aston Martins, Jaguars and Ferraris.

The smart's patriotic Union Jack one-off special edition paint job was designed by London-based artist Pip Hackett to celebrate the car's official entry into the UK market at the Show last week. It will be auctioned for charity at the end of the Show.

Built by Micro Compact Car GmbH, part of the DaimlerChrysler group, the nifty two-seater boasts a 599 cc engine and returns an average 65.7 miles to the gallon.

At first the car will be sold in busy metropolitan shopping areas like London, Milton Keynes and Birmingham, but eventually DaimlerChrysler UK intends to roll out a national sales network for its smart little car.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2010, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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DCX eyes U.S for smart car May 9, 2001 Mini car can park easily, fit in pickups, but profits and sales are a tougher fit

NEW YORK (CNNfn) - DaimlerChrysler is looking at bringing its micro car, the smart brand car, to a U.S. market that has increasingly moved to purchases of trucks and vans over cars.The smart car is a two-passenger vehicle just over 8 feet long and just under 5 feet wide that can be carried in the box of many pick-ups on U.S. roads today.

The smart car, a two passenger vehicle that DaimlerChrysler is looking at bringing to the U.S. market in 2003, would be the smallest car in the U.S. market. (Source: smart)

At only 1,587 pounds, it would be the lightest car ever allowed on the road by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, assuming it passed the test. The lightest vehicle now on the road is the Honda Insight, an electric/gasoline hybrid vehicle that weighs 1,868 pounds, or 17 percent more.

Officials with DaimlerChrysler said they will be studying the introduction of the vehicle to the U.S. market over the rest of the year, and that a roll-out in dealer showrooms here probably wouldn't happen until the middle of 2003 at the earliest.

"I think the chances are good," said Simone Maier, spokeswoman for smart. "But nothing has been decided. The studies are ongoing."

The move is ironic in light of DaimlerChrysler's recent decision to start marketing its Unimog multi-purpose vehicle through its Freightliner truck division to some niche consumers. That would make it the largest non-commercial vehicles on U.S. roads. Unimog is nearly twice as tall as a smart car and is more than two feet wider. In fact the smart car's length is only 14 inches longer than Unimog's width.

Maier admits that the car would not pass U.S. crash safety standards in its current configuration and that some additional engineering would have to be done. But she said she's confident the price would stay close to its current 10,000, or $8,849 basic list price.

The price, and the fuel economy of about 49 miles per gallon, as well as the ability to easily park on crowded U.S. streets are seen as selling points. The car is short enough to pull into a parking spot with its nose flush to the curb and not stick out into traffic on some streets.

The company saw sales of the smart car climb by about a quarter last year to 102,100 from 79,900 in 1999. But the car, introduced to the European market in 1998 and to Japan last year, has been unable to make money for DaimlerChrysler, despite the high fuel prices and narrow streets in those markets.

One analyst said it would have an even tougher time finding a market on U.S. roads dominated by larger vehicles. The car is only 61 inches tall, which would put its roof below the hood of the Ford Excursion, the largest sport/utility vehicle on the market.

"It's doesn't hurt to speculate on bringing it to the U.S. market, but I don't think there's a chance they'll do it," said Stephen Reitman, analyst for Merrill Lynch in London. "I would put it in the failure camp. Commercially, financially, its didn't fulfill the hopes the company has had for it."

Reitman estimates the division is losing about 350 million or 400 million a year on the smart brand, although DaimlerChrysler has never separated it out from the Mercedes results.

The model has had trouble finding a dealer network in Europe. Maier said that DaimlerChrysler would likely turn to Mercedes dealers in the United States to sell the vehicle here, but she couldn't say if the more numerous Chrysler or Dodge dealers would also be tapped to sell the vehicle.

She also said the company is likely to start sales in the more crowded markets on the east and west coasts. She said one of the things being studied this year is which markets are the best fit for the car and which buyers are the best to target.

(Source: Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company.)
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November 5, 2002 DaimlerChrysler AG said it plans to build a four-seat version of the ultra-compact Smart car at a plant in Brazil.

Automaker DaimlerChrysler AG said Monday it plans to build a four-seat version of the ultra-compact Smart car at a plant in Brazil. Published November 5, 2002.

Automaker DaimlerChrysler AG said Monday it plans to build a four-seat version of the ultra-compact Smart car at a plant in Brazil, a move that it described as an ``important step'' toward launching the Smart in the United States. The Juiz de Fora plant currently produces Mercedes A-class cars for the Brazilian market and C-class vehicles for North America, and would be the first factory outside Europe to produce Smart models. DaimlerChrysler did not say when.
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The Miami Herald Source: Associated Press Unique Four-Wheel Drive SUV Arrives in 2006

BOSTON, April 14 /PRNewswire/ — smart, the global automotive brand that is revolutionizing the design, production and marketing of premium small vehicles around the world, will launch in the United States in 2006 with a new type of SUV — a smart utility vehicle. Called the smart formore, the first smart to be sold in the U.S. market will feature four-wheel drive and be suited to all roads and driving conditions.

With the introduction of the formore, smart will be represented in the world’s largest automotive market for the first time. The smart formore will also be offered in the company’s other core markets.

“The formore is the ideal model to launch the smart brand in the U.S. market,” said Scott Keogh, general manager, smart USA. “We see a huge opportunity in this market for this truly distinct brand, which has the courage and resources to make a real break from conventional automotive thinking. With its unique engineering and design elements and exuberant character, the smart formore will bring the brand’s core characteristics to a segment populated by ‘me-too’ vehicles.” Keogh explained that because the formore will be unique in the U.S. market, “SUV” translates to “smart utility vehicle.”

Designed specifically for the American market, the smart formore will be built in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Juiz de Fora, Brazil. The plant has a capacity of 60,000 cars per year, with half to be sold in the U.S. in the first full sales year. Currently, other smart models are built in the smartville complex in Hambach, France near the German border and at the NedCar facility in Born, Netherlands.
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smart Naming Concept AUTOS ON FRIDAY/Design; If This Is the Future, It's Not Exactly Pretty

CONCEPT cars have long been a staple of automobile shows because these vehicles allow auto makers to achieve two self-serving goals simultaneously: manufacturers can appear to be engineering leaders by showing off state-of-the-art technology (even if some of it is so conceptual it may never find its way into mass production) while keeping consumers hooked on one of the industry's most potent narcotics -- the dream machine.

"Different Roads: Automobiles for the Next Century," an exhibit that opened July 22 at the Museum of Modern Art, takes the concept car and turns the concept on its head. Although all the vehicles displayed in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden include cutting-edge engineering and design features, some are already available to consumers in various countries, and most of the others will soon be as well.

And far from being fantasy inducing, these vehicles -- designed for a world running short of clean air, crude oil and parking spaces -- offer a conscience-awakening look at the types of cars that we may not want to drive in the future, but probably will have to.

The poster child for the show is its smallest exhibit: the Smart Car, a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler and Swatch. Sport utility owners may shudder at its length: a shade under 100 inches long. With little more than a dashboard and two seats inside, the Smart Car looks as if it could have accidentally rolled off a conveyor belt on a Disney World ride. But in Europe, where it has been on sale since 1998, it is smart indeed, taking up half a typical parking spot.

As small as the Ford Ka is -- 143 inches long -- it is about 45 percent longer than the Smart Car. About a half million Kas have been sold in Australia, Europe, Latin America and Japan since 1996. The Ka looks at home in the Modern: its exterior and interior are marked by soothing, organic curves and long, unbroken lines. Nonetheless, its name -- an Egyptian word for soul -- may seem like a self-deprecating joke. It's so small, a three-letter word is far too lavish to describe it.

For drivers whose cars represent an inviolable and essential chunk of their personal space, two vehicles in "Different Roads" provide the comforting promise that the spacious interior is safe for Year 2000 and beyond. The Audi Al2, a 1,700-pound minivan expected to go on sale in Europe later this year, uses extensive aluminum construction and takes styling cues from the Audi TT. The museum notes play up features that are not unusual -- navigation system, clutchless manual transmission -- but ignore the intriguing multilens head lamps.

Another minivan, the Fiat Multipla Bipower, comes by its tongue-twisting name deservedly. Its hybrid engine can combine gasoline use with diesel, electric or methane. The dashboard makes ergonomic sense: the screen for the navigation system is directly in front of the driver (the instruments -- requiring less-frequent glances by comparison -- are in the middle). Or the screen can be plugged in to face the passengers, to show movies to entertain children. The middle front seat can even be replaced by a small refrigerator. Not to worry, though, Americans won't be adding refrigerator raids to their long list of driving distractions because there are no plans to sell the Multipla in the United States.

Hybrid and alternative-power cars are also represented at the Modern's exhibit: the General Motors EV1 electric, available for lease in Western states, and the Honda VV and Toyota Prius, gasoline-electric hybrids to go on sale here within a year. The Prius features homely styling typical of the Japan-only market, but the VV (to be called Insight here), like the EV1, has a tapered tail reminiscent of Citroen sedans.

Speaking of Citroens, the one vehicle that does more to produce dread for the future of car styling than any other is the DaimlerChrysler Composite Concept Vehicle -- CCV for short (like everything in this exhibit). It is meant to evoke the Citroen 2CV and to be as easy to build as a toy, but its injection-molded plastic body makes the CCV seem more like motorized lawn furniture. The CCV will be marketed in developing countries, which may or may not ease their resentment of the major economic powers.

"Different Roads: Automobiles for the Next Century" is at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53d Street, Manhattan, (212) 708-9400, through Sept. 21.

By JOSEPH SIANO Published: July 30, 1999 New York Times
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