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| Latest Prototype 453
|Posted by Mike T - Sep 23 2013 - 04:48 PM - 21 comments
The new fortwo has been revealed in its more or less definitive form, but it's still somewhat disguised. Note the four wheel bolts!
These are the first spy pics depicting the production variant of next year’s Smart ForTwo.
Up until now we only saw test mules of the second-gen ForTwo but now we get the chance to take a look at the rear-wheel drive city car in production form which is scheduled to come out sometime in 2014. The ForTwo will be available strictly as a two-door model but a ForFour revival with two additional doors is also in the pipeline with a stretched wheelbase to accommodate two rear passengers.
The Smart duo will share platform with the next-gen Renault Twingo which will be offered exclusively as a five-door model. Reports are indicating Smart is planning an electric version of the ForTwo powered by an 87 bhp (65 kW) electric motor. Regular versions will be available with several three-cylinder gasoline and diesel versions, including a turbocharged gasoline motor developing 84 bhp (63 kW) and 104 bhp (77 kW).link to article
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| Smarticle Coming This Friday
|Posted by Mike T - Apr 8 2013 - 08:31 PM - 6 comments
Just a heads up: Michael Reid of the Times-Colonist newspaper contacted me several days ago about an article he's writing for this Friday's paper. I don't know exactly what he's going to write, but he certainly asked me lots of questions! It should be in the Auto section.
The Good Life column: Small cars can pay big dividends
MICHAEL D. REID / TIMES COLONIST
APRIL 12, 2013
Luxury isn’t an adjective that springs to mind when you think Smart Car.
Until it’s rush hour downtown, you’re trying to beat the clock and you desperately need a parking spot.
“Ah, yes, ownership has its privileges,” you’ll be tempted to say as you ease your tiny, two-seat Smart into one of Victoria’s 24 dedicated small-vehicle spaces designed for such mobile bundles of joy.
Suddenly, this nifty little number seems as luxurious as a Bentley Continental GT. Especially when the driver of that bulky SUV who was eyeing your spot until he realized size does matter in the parking world glares at you with contempt.
This occurred recently on Johnson at Government, where a small-vehicle spot near a popular video store beckoned, like a T-bone tempting my dog. Parking was a matter of some urgency. After finally seeing the first season of Downton Abbey on DVD, my wife and I had become so addicted, we had to start watching Season 2 immediately.
The DVD was a hot property, so, in the time it would take to find a regular parking spot, it could be gone.
Only having to pay $1.25 an hour (coins only) — half as much as regular parking-meter rates — was a bonus. It was almost as sweet as the phenomenal fuel economy of the 2011 Smart Pure coupe, borrowed from Three Point Motors Victoria, and its clutch pedal-free “automated manual” transmission. (For a guy who doesn’t drive stick and has no desire to learn, it was cool getting to drive in “automatic,” yet feel the gears shift as if driving in manual, which you can also do.)
After tooling around in one of these peculiar sub-compacts, I began to realize why they’re so beloved. I did wonder, however, whether driving a car of such Lilliputian proportions affected how others perceive you.
Was it mere coincidence that when I pulled up to a Tim Horton’s in the Smart to buy my large tin of home-brew coffee, the clerk said she could only give me the small size? Or that when I ordered M&Ms at the multiplex, the staffer handed me a tiny tube of the miniatures meant for pint-sized viewers?
I am not making this up. Cue the Twilight Zone theme song.
Serious Smart car owners are a breed apart, I discovered.
“We used to be pretty active, especially when they were still a novelty,” recalled Ladysmith-based enthusiast Mike Tippett, 53, who bought one of the first of the 10,241 diesel Smarts sold in Canada.
Tippett joined the waiting list for his first Smart on July 10, 2002, and got his factory-ordered diesel — a green and black pulse convertible — three years later. He and his wife drove it 250,000 km until last October, averaging 3.2 litres per 100 km.
“People on the Island Highway would take pictures of you. You felt like a celebrity even if you didn’t want to be,” he recalled.
He flew to Toronto in 2010 to buy his second, driving his 2006 white cabriolet convertible home through the U.S. in winter on snow tires. It’s one of four red or white BRABUS Canada 1 Smarts customized in Bottrop, Germany, and since modified with a remapped engine and sports suspension, “which makes the car handle like a go-kart.”
“It was white-on-white before you could get white-on-white,” said the father of three, who was such a fan that in 2005, he took his family to visit the Smart factory in Hambach, France. He paid another visit in 2008 and was interviewed by a French newspaper.
Although he says the Smart is a car you either love or hate, he loves its non-conformist aspect.
“It reminded me of the old Citroen DS21,” he said. “People felt it was either the most stupid or the coolest thing ever.”
As well as being the puniest car you can buy, the Smart Car is a style statement, Tippett adds, theorizing that’s why it was put on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, along with Italy’s Cisitalia 202.
It’s that fuel economy and parking bonus that have boosted sales, however.
Whether you drive a Smart or vehicles like the Fiat 500, Scion IQ, old Austin Minis, motorcycles or scooters that can fit small-vehicle spaces, it pays to be familiar with the restrictions. A driver who parked his Mazda 626 Cronos into one downtown this week obviously wasn’t, perhaps too accustomed to squeezing into “small car” spots at shopping malls.
“Large trucks will even try,” says Ismo Husu, Victoria’s manager of parking services. “Or people will try to put their tires inside the lines and think that’s good enough, not understanding it’s bumper-to-bumper.”
Husu says the spaces with lime-green meters are so popular, more will be added as the Smart population grows.
“The best thing is it’s all extra,” he said, noting there are 1,950 parking spaces downtown. “No regular spaces were shortened.”
Aside from wishful thinking size-wise, there’s another misconception. Husu adds.
“Some people think that after 6 p.m., the size restriction doesn’t apply. It’s 24 hours a day.”link
Read 3,634 times - last comment by SmartieParts
| Adac Crash Test - Fiat 500, Fortwo, Twingo, Picanto
|Posted by Mike T - Sep 19 2012 - 03:50 PM - 0 comments
ADAC has just completed a test of four small cars to see whether they can provide significant protection in collisions with larger vehicles. http://www.adac.de/infotestrat/adac-im-ein...urcePageId=6729
Only the smart was judged to achieve an adequate level of protection to its occupants.Daimler Media Services Press Release:
Stuttgart – When a small car collides with a larger one, the smaller vehicle draws the short straw. This is confirmed by the latest ADAC crash test. With one exception: in this David-and-Goliath clash the smart fortwo was the only small car able to prevent life-threatening injuries to the driver from severe trauma to the chest.
The standard EuroNCAP crash test simulates a frontal collision with a vehicle of the same weight. In contrast, for the first time the ADAC had four smaller models crash into a barrier vehicle equivalent to a lower-end mid-sized car. Further, in this first compatibility crash test the unequally matched parties to the accident collided with an offset of 50 percent. This is because, according to the ADAC, in an accident it is usually vehicles of different weights that collide, usually with a degree of lateral offset.
The horrifying outcome of the crash test is that life-threatening injuries in the chest region are commonplace in smaller vehicles. Only the smart fortwo protected its driver from such injuries – despite being the smallest and lightest vehicle in the test.
According to the ADAC, the reasons for the alarming test results lie partly
in the fact that the short crumple zone of smaller vehicles cannot absorb sufficient energy and the forces unleashed during an accident are often not conducted to the corresponding energy-absorbing components.
The smart fortwo owes its good crash test result to an innovative construction based on examinations of actual accident scenarios conducted by Mercedes-Benz Cars as opposed to focusing solely on the requirements of EU and American laws. Collisions with other vehicles in different constellations were therefore also taken into account during the development phase of the
smart fortwo. Because the constructional crash-safety provisions and restraint systems of all vehicles of Mercedes-Benz Cars satisfy such strict, internal standards that in part go way beyond the statutory requirements, they have also proved themselves in everyday practice. The same goes for the smart fortwo.
The safety concept of the smart fortwo is as follows:
The tridion safety cell protects its occupants like the hard shell around a nut. Its structure is additionally reinforced with high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel at strategically important points (more than 50 percent).
The tridion safety cell’s longitudinal and transverse members activate the crumple zone of the other vehicle involved in the accident and distribute the impact energy evenly over the car’s body.
And in case of a collision, the wheels also take on the function of crumple zones. When this happens, the front wheels are supported by the side members.
The rear-mounted engine enables a larger crumple zone at the front and acts as a shock-absorbing unit that absorbs the impact energy in a rebound.
Thanks to the sandwich-type construction of the tridion safety cell, the passengers are usually somewhat above the direct danger zone in the event of a side impact. Further, in the case of a side impact, the other vehicle almost always hits an axle that can absorb impact energy due to the relatively short wheelbase.
All interior trims have been optimised to prevent injuries to occupants. And the soft foam-backed lower instrument panel (knee pad) offers protection for the passengers' knees and lower legs.
The door structure is reinforced by high-strength sheet metal at
Other standard safety features in the smart fortwo are ESP with ABS and brake assist (BAS), wide track width, seat belts with belt tensioner and belt-force limiter, safety seats with integral seat belts, airbags.
However, it is not only the smart fortwo driver who benefits: due to its low weight it has little impact on the other vehicle involved in the accident and causes a minimum of damage.
The result of the latest ADAC crash test was summed up by the popular German newspaper “Bild”: “Only the smart is truly smart.”
More and more buyers agree with this opinion. More than 1.4 million smart fortwos have been delivered to customers since the first model was launched in 1998. 101,996 smart fortwos were handed over to customers worldwide in 2011 – 4.6 percent more than in the previous year. What they like about this trendsetter of individual urban mobility is above all its high fun factor, its high ecological standards and the compact dimensions of the two-seater that is peerless in terms of how little road and parking space it takes up. However, its sophisticated safety strategy is also persuasive, as the latest ADAC crash test underlines.
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| Smart Forstars Concept
|Posted by quirky1 - Sep 14 2012 - 01:00 AM - 8 comments
|Smart Forstars Concept To Debut at 2012 Paris Auto ShowBy Michael Taylor, Correspondent | Published Sep 14, 2012
Just the Facts:
- Smart will unveil its new Forstars concept this month at the Paris auto show.
- The Forstars hints at the size and shape of the future Fortwo.
- The Forstars is wider and longer than the current production Smart.
— Making its debut at this month's 2012 Paris Auto Show, the new Smart Forstars concept is built on a far bigger architecture than the current Smart Fortwo and boasts a silhouette that hints at the shape of Fortwo's successor, due in a year.
It's an astonishing 33.7 inches — more than 30 percent — longer than the little Fortwo at 139.8 inches long, and it's 5.9 inches wider as well.
Its wheelbase has been pushed out by more than 24 percent — a whopping 23.7 inches longer — at 97.2 inches. That leaves the Fortwo, which can famously be parked across a modern city car parking space, just 9 inches shorter in its wheelbase than the all-new A-Class Mercedes-Benz five-door hatch.
It's also wider, with its front track stretched 7.6 inches to 58.1 inches and its rear track bumped out 3.5 inches to the same width.
In fact, the only dimension that shrinks on the Smart Forstars is its height, which shrinks down 1.4 inches to 59.3 inches.
Beneath it all, the Forstars is powered by the same all-electric drivetrain lifted from the current Brabus Smart Electric, which means a 60kW magneto-electric motor. It's enough to power the Forstars to 81 mph thanks to 100 pound-feet of instant torque and a 17.6kW/hour battery.
Yet Smart isn't relying on solid engineering advancements to garner public attention. Instead, it's given the Forstars a built-in video projector so it can be parked in front of any clean wall to make an instant drive-in movie theater.
Slung beneath a faux hood intake, the Forstars movie projector can be operated by either a smartphone or via Bluetooth.
Smart has christened it the Forstars because of its convex curved glass roof that exposes the night sky, but there are other reasons why parent company Daimler christens it its first Sports Utility Coupe (SUC).
Firstly, the Forstars shares its origins with the For-us concept car Smart showed at January's Detroit Auto Show, so it also shares its glass tailgate.
The electrically operated tailgate slides down to create a 35.4-inch-long tailgate area — almost long enough to make yourself comfortable in a traditional drive-in theater.
The seats are hammock-style units, developed at Mercedes-Benz's Lake Como studio in Italy, and can be switched in and out with different colors as the owner's mood changes.
The interior's radical thinking doesn't stop there, with the rearview mirror replaced entirely by a cradle for a smartphone, which displays footage from a rearview camera.
Sitting on an enormous set of 245/35 ZR21 Michelin tires, the two-seater keeps delivering kookiness outside as well as in.
The right side taillight flips open to give access to the plug-in charging socket while, astonishingly, Smart created space for a large drink bottle holder in the left side taillight.Edmunds says:
The Forstars concept foretells of a slightly bigger production Smart to replace the current Fortwo.
Read 6,150 times - last comment by sbungay
| The Future of Smart in America
|Posted by Britsmart - Sep 30 2011 - 09:46 AM - 20 comments
September 28, 2011
By Scott Evans
If you've been following sales numbers over the past few years as we have, you'd be forgiven for thinking Smart's time in the U.S. is running short. The company is believed to have sold fewer than 4000 cars so far this year, though specific data is hard to find. Daimler, parent company of Smart and Mercedes-Benz, hasn't bothered to include year-to-date totals in its monthly sales reports, nor any data on 2010 performance relative to 2011. Why? Because Smart's sales continue to spiral downward by double digits every month. You'd think that would mean the end is nigh, but Smart's refusing to go down in the U.S. market without a drawn-out fight.
Click to view GallerySpeaking with executives at Mercedes-Benz USA, which has recently taken over control of Smart USA from original importer Penske, Motor Trend learned that the micro-car brand is far from finished in the U.S. With the full backing of the German mothership, Smart is planning to reinvent itself in America and return to profitability. But while there's a plan in place, it's a long road ahead.
The plan starts with marketing. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a Smart commercial on TV? Your memory isn't to blame -- there's never been one. According to Mercedes-Benz, Penske simply didn't have the resources at its disposal to mount the kind of massive media campaign needed to sell cars. Mercedes on the other hand does, which is why you'll start seeing a lot more Smart advertising in the near future, beginning with a major ad campaign that started in mid-September. TV commercials will appear on all the major networks during a number of popular scripted, reality, and talk shows.
The point of the ad campaign, we're told, is not to re-educate the market about Smart cars, but rather to expose people to them. Brand awareness, Mercedes says, is very low right now, and dealers say they haven't seen any advertising in three years. According to Mercedes, most car buyers don't know what Smart is, and those who do don't necessarily have the right idea about the brand. Judging by the comments on our last Smart Fortwo test, Motor Trend readers think the car only sells in San Francisco, but Mercedes tells us that many Smarts are actually sold in Texas, of all places. Smart is hoping to send a message of value and downsizing as the buying public begins to embrace small cars and restrained spending.
Click to view GalleryAnother aspect of the plan comes on the dealer side of things. Mercedes cut loose 30 percent of Smart's dealer network when it took over the brand, dropping all dealers that weren't also Mercedes dealers. As of now, Smart is down to just 50 U.S. dealers, though that number will go back up to anywhere between 80 and 100 dealers in the near future, and all of them will also be Mercedes dealers. The idea is similar to Hyundai's plan for Genesis to have a dealer-within-a-dealer selling Smart cars as their own brand, not as tiny Benzes. They won't just be sold, either. Now that Mercedes is calling the shots, Smart will begin leasing gasoline cars for the first time. Meanwhile, the company is looking for ways to bring down the lease price on the Smart ED electric car from the current $600 per month rate.
Mercedes is hoping that this plan will get Smart back to sales growth in 2012, though given 2011's low sales, it's not a lofty goal. Next year will also see the launch of the third-generation Fortwo as a 2013 model based on the Forvision concept that just debuted in Frankfurt. The update as we understand it will be mostly cosmetic, but third-generation electric models will feature increased range and performance and, if all goes to plan, will actually be for sale and not just for lease. Dealers will have to make do with that for another three years or so until an all-new car debuts. That product, we hope, will feature some big updates, as we've found the current car lacking in a few areas, though Mercedes insists that the opinions of automotive journalists don't reflect those of customers, who apparently aren't complaining at all about the transmission.
Mercedes-Benz is working closely with its Smart dealers to craft a new awareness for the brand, one it hopes will get sales back on track. How well it works will depend on how effective the message is as much as gas prices and the country's economic woes. Beyond the short-term, though, Smart's future in America is still unclear and will depend heavily on future product we haven't seen yet.
Read 9,465 times - last comment by bilgladstone
| Smart's Forvision Conceptualizes the Next-Generation of the Fortwo
|Posted by quirky1 - Aug 31 2011 - 11:57 PM - 19 comments
|Smart's Forvision Conceptualizes the Next-Generation of the Fortwo
Daimler's Smart unit will be represented at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September by a new concept study named Forvision that does two things for the brand: it previews the new design direction for the Fortwo and it hints at the technology being readied for the firm's future models.
The Forvision is Smart's second concept model after the sportier, roofless Forspeed that debuted in Geneva this past March to feature the brand's new styling language that brings the original Fortwo's design into the 21st century.
Smart worked together with BASF, the world's largest chemical company, for the development of several advanced technologies used on the Forvision.
Among other highlights are the revolutionary plastic wheels that each weigh about 3kg (6.6 pounds) less than an aluminum rim, and the carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy resin used in the construction of the passenger compartment and the doors, which weight savings of up to 50 percent compared to steel and 30 percent compared to aluminum.
The concept model features an electric drivetrain, with the solar roof providing additional energy to feed the battery.
So, when will see the actual, production version of third generation of the Fortwo? The German automaker is expected to roll out the new model sometime next year.
It will be based on a new rear-wheel drive platform architecture that has been developed in cooperation with the Nissan-Renault Alliance and, according to a joint statement made last year, it will also be used on the next Renault Twingo.
[Photo gallery available in article
Read 9,765 times - last comment by quirky1