Smart Car in America

RooseveltLJanuary 21, 2005

Anyone attend the Detroit Auto Show? What is the purposed selling price?

I think it is excellent for cities but somewhat unsafe when you consider a Cadillac or Ford SUV could take out both passengers heads in a simple parking lot collision.

Darn - SUV are unsafe!

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Deer180

If you are talking about the tiny SMART car (made by Swatch & Mercedes Benz), then I agree - it would be very scary to have a collision with a large USA behemoth.

However, I understand that the design concept of Smart is just like that of a walnut. It has a hard outside shell and lots of internal protection. So if you throw the walnut hard it will not split and will protect the precious nut. So in case of an accident, the Smart car will bounce and all the airbags will deploy and the passengers would be protected.

But don't ask me to try this out......:-(

I saw them in Europe and just sent chills down my spine just thinking about it....it is really small so 2 six footers can use a shoehorn to get in. I actually sa 4 short people in there once. Wow!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 4:13PM
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don_socal

I had one of these and it was fast enough to get out of the way but if a truck passed on the freeway it changed lanes involuntarily.

Here is a link that might be useful: Z600 Coupe

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 4:41PM
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bill_h

i saw them at the auto show, very nice city tranportation, the sports car looks somewhat like a lotus, the others like fancy golfcarts. iam a big fan of small cars, and can see myself in one. and if someone in a suv hits me they better kill me, because i will sue them until they die!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 6:55PM
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gary__

One fact you sport ute haters seem to ignor when talking safety is that you are more likely to be hurt in an accident in a smaller vehicle even if no other vehicle is involved.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 7:24PM
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DaveUK

Gary, that's not necessarily true.

Some of what you in the USA would probably term 'small' and 'micro' cars have received the highest ratings in the EuroNCAP safety tests, some being even safer than bigger cars.

I don't hate SUVs as such, but what I don't like is the huge ones. I don't see a need for anything bigger than a Discovery. Over here LandCruisers and Range Rovers look huge, and it looks just stupid to see people driving around in huge imported American things. What's the attraction?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 7:36PM
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bill_h

i dont like big vehicles, cars suvs or trucks, dont have anything against people buying them, thats their choice. it a fashion thing, or a personal statement. nothing wrong with that. besides this big suv fad will blow over like the english sports car fad of years gone by. i do think alot of people driving these big vehicles dont pay enough attention to driving. i got clipped by a guy in a one ton duelly 2 yrs ago, he failed to yield the right of way to me, i was on my bike.the pain and suffering was helped by the fact that i now own his condo.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 9:31PM
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Deer180

DaveUK - it might be that we have 'larger' other cars adn getting one of those FORD Expeditions will make you feel like the king of the road - you can see over everyone, including other SUV's. Tehir gas mileage sucks a lot of fuel.....
I agree I cant see ther reason for it, unless of course one is transporting lots of people.

Then again there is comfort, etc. for them 6 foot 2+ Texans etc.
:-)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 9:34PM
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lee676

Deer180, Swatch bailed out of the Smart venture long ago; nowadays Smart is just another of DaimlerChrysler's brands. In the U.S. they were originally going to build separate Smart showrooms to sell them, but I read recently that they will be sold through Mercedes-Benz dealers instead. DC will only be selling a new Smart 4-door tall wagon/mini-ute themselves, but a separate third-party company plans to import and federalize European-type 2-door/two-seater Smarts for U.S. sale.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 4:01AM
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akastj_northern_ca

Lee,

Actually, DC is not going to bring the formore (sp?, SUV) here. It has been suspended per information at The Car Connection (link below, scroll down to "Smart fortwo Looking Better For U.S." article).

Another company, that produces electric vehicles and has taken over the Sparrow, is producing the fortwo in an electric version. I saw one at the San Francisco auto show last November...

FWIW. I wanted a gas powered fortwo as soon as I saw them in Paris... :-)

TJ

Here is a link that might be useful: TheCarConnection / Daily Edition: Jan. 11, 2005

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 6:57AM
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Deer180

If you look at www.smart.com and select in North America - Canada in English you will see what SMART looks like with all the specs for the 42 and the 44 (fortwo and forfour) versions.

Top speed is 84 mph - with a great description of why they say it is very safe. Lots of pictures, etc.

http://www.smart.com/-snm-0135145948-1106213840-0000018504-0000001615-1106398949-enm-is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/mpc-ca-content-Site/en_CA/-/USD/SVCPresentationPipeline-Start?Page=issite%3a%2f%2fsmart-Site%2fsmart%2ecom%2fRootFolder%2fsmart%2fhome%2epage

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 8:06AM
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lee676

The TCC article seems to imply that DC doesn't really know what they want to do with Smart in the US. Seems odd to me they're so worried about what will happen if a Smart 2-seater gets in a collision with a SUV - I'm sure BMW's Minis and Kia Rios and other small cars have been in collisions with SUVs with varying results, and those brands haven't been destroyed. The Smart despite its diminutive size is supposedly quite crashworthy. In any case, I doubt the independent importers will have much success, if they even get off the ground at all. Several other similar ventures have failed. At best, they didn't bring over more than a few hundred cars per year.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 7:25PM
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zofie

What cute little tonka toys! ;-)

They would make great golf carts.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 7:40PM
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KarenintheUK

Dave - you can't use the NCAP star rating to compare cars of different sizes - NCAP has the following to say on the subject...

"21. Are large cars safer than small cars?
From the laws of physics, all other things being equal, heavy cars do better than light cars when they are involved in a frontal impact. To avoid mass effects, Euro NCAP tests and compares cars within size categories. The safety of cars in a size category is not a function of mass, but it is dependent upon good design.

  1. Can results be compared between groups?
    Results should only be compared within the same group. The frontal testing method mirrors a crash between two similar sized cars. Clearly a bigger car has an advantage if it hits a smaller car and Euro NCAP results canÂt be used to predict the outcome of such crashes "

There are those that argue that NCAP doesn't provide a true picture as the findingsare laboratory simulated and the star ratings can be contraversial, one manufacturer lost a star because a seat belt warning light wasn't considered to be in a visible enough place. There are other guides to car safety such as that produced by the Swedish Insurer Folksam, who collate data from real life accidents.The only downside is because they have to wait for accidents to happen, there is no data on the newest models

Here is a link that might be useful: Folksham

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 9:28PM
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RooseveltL

I'd have to agree with the previous post - as a Mini Cooper is safer to drive vs. some SUV because it doesn't have the roll-over vulnerability, however, a 35 mph head-on with a truck couldn't be favorable (strictly physics).

I disagree with a previous statement as the American car market is faddish and the Mini Cooper still has a waiting list because it is stylish and different as every other car looks the same.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 9:49AM
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DaveUK

Karen, yes, you're right. I was just making the point that small cars are as safe as bigger cars nowadays. In fact, looking at some recent NCAP tests and other tests, you would be safer in a Renault Modus than you would in a BMW 5-series.

BMW are actually having a major huff about EuroNCAP - they are sulking about the fact that EuroNCAP released the revisions that BMW made to the car to try and increase it's ratings.

Then again there is comfort, etc. for them 6 foot 2+ Texans etc. :-)
That is one thing that I really don't understand. Someone on here fairly recently claimed that they "had" to buy a large SUV because they couldn't fit in a smaller car, and they were only 6' tall. I'm 6' tall, and fairly, um, large built, and have absolutely no problem whatsoever with my car. There's more than enough space in there for me and 3 other adults (4 at a little bit of a squeeze) - and this is a smaller car than a VW Golf.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 12:11PM
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RooseveltL

Unfortunately, DaveUK - Americans think we are larger than we are. I still have yet to see a large SUV filled to capacity with passengers. And rarely in this country will 4 adults travel together (unless for business) as we don't carpool.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 2:02PM
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gary__

**Americans think we are larger than we are. I still have yet to see a large SUV filled to capacity with passengers.**

Then you're not looking very hard. Go to a ski resort this time of year, or a lake, the beach, or camp ground in the summer, you won't have any trouble finding filled up suv's. BTW, how often do you see any vehicle of any size filled to capacity, meaning no extra seats and an empty trunk? I bet 99.9999% of the time no vehicle is filled to capacity whether it be a two seater like I drive, mass transit bus, and everthing inbetween. Hec, most motor cycles will carry at least two people. More if you spring for a side car.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 5:10PM
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earthworm

Anyone attend the Detroit Auto Show? What is the purposed selling price?
I think it is excellent for cities but somewhat unsafe when you consider a Cadillac or Ford SUV could take out both passengers heads in a simple parking lot collision.

Darn - SUV are unsafe!

Roosevelt, IMO, what is really unsafe is ignorance and fear - and we have too much of this in our nation..
What we do need are more efficient, more appropriate vehicles.
The SUVs and trucks are too high; the "econoboxes" and regular cars are too low. Obviously the height should be somewhere in between.. Is this so hard ??
Any fool, such as I, can instantly see this !
There must be a uniform bumper height for all motor vehicles , except the motorcycles, of course..
The SUVs, at least most of them do seem to offer more room than average, But, then ,my Saab 900 has as much usable room without the waste or excess.
No-one agrees on the definition of waste !!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 11:29AM
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bill_h

my definition of waste, would be anything above what is needed to get a job done. but that would take the fun out of life! i dont need a 24ft power boat, i dont need a boat at all, i dont need a fully loaded car and truck for the 6000 miles a yr that i drive, i dont need a heated and finished garage. but that what i want, thats why i work, thats one of the reasons for getting up. and thats what makes life here so good.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 7:24PM
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akastj_northern_ca

Although the article linked below, dated 4/19/05, mainly discusses the new Mercedes X-Class, it also notes that there's still hope for the Smart ForTwo in America... :-)

TJ

Here is a link that might be useful: Autoweek.com / Forget the ForMore: Mercedes may have shelved the Smart SUV, but X-Class lives on

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 6:56AM
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brianl703

If someone is worried about what will happen if they get into a single-vehicle accident, I have to wonder why they're not more worried about WHY they would get into a single-vehicle accident in the first place.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 10:26AM
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Dimwit

There's a film of MB doing an offset header with a fortwo and a C class. The fortwo faired BETTER! Amazing.

I sat in a fortwo Pulse and was amazed at the space. The only nono was when I shut the door, it touched my shoulder. I can't have that. Still, pretty funky and the mileage can't be beat. It's better than the hybrids.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 4:57AM
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RooseveltL

And makes parking a non-issue in a metropolitan area. Unfortunately, with spots growing in size to accomodate SUPER HUGE SUVS - you can probably park 4 SmartCars in the spot of one Cadillac SUV.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 1:25PM
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christopherh

Smart has cancelled all plans to import the vehicle. They have left numerous dealers in the lurch and the lawsuits will start flying soon.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 7:50AM
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akastj_northern_ca

ChristopherH,

If anyone would be doing the shelving of importing Smart, wouldn't it be Daimler-Chrysler? AFAIK, they own Smart.

From an AutoWeek article dated 4/26/06 (linked below):

"DaimlerChrysler won't kill the entry-level Smart brand, but it will halt production of the Smart Roadster this year, and the Smart ForFour SUV is dead."

Daimler-Chrysler has bigger problems to deal with...

TJ

Here is a link that might be useful: Autoweek.com / Mercedes now weak link in DCX chain

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 10:48PM
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akastj_northern_ca

FYI & FWIW.

Just found an article regarding ZAP and Smart:

"Can ZAP Move $1 Billion in smarts?

U.S. car customizer ZAP shocked DaimlerChrysler by placing an order for $1 billion worth of smart fortwo minicars from DaimlerChrysler."

Scroll down to the rest of article linked below...

TJ

Here is a link that might be useful: TheCarConnection.com / Daily Edition: May 25, 2005

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 9:17AM
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