Tag Archives: smart city car

Car Spot: The Smart Car

There’s nothing smart about this car

Known for its massive, and expensive cars, the Smart Car was something really different from Mercedes Benz. It all started in 1972 when they decided to explore what cars of the new millennium would look like. The 1973 oil crisis convinced them that they should move forward with a small city-bound car, thinking that transportation trends were going to change dramatically in the coming decades. The production version of the smart was officially introduced at the 97 Frankfurt Motor Show and in October, the first unit rolled off the assembly line. 

Found this one sitting on a car lot. Might be sitting for a long time.

Originally developed with the maker of the Swatch, (remember them?) Then CEO, Nicolas Hayek, believed that the automotive industry had ignored the customers that wanted a small, stylish car. It measured just over eight feet long, just under five feet wide, and about the same height. Essentially the size of a golf cart. A three-cylinder gas engine powered it. Later a direct-injection diesel engine version was added bumping horsepower, wait for it, up to 89 from the previous 70. Want to know 0-6 times? Anywhere from 11 up to just under 20 seconds. Yup, a gutless wonder.

There’s nothing “Smart” about this car.

Smart first arrived in the U.S. in 2008 and sold nearly 25,000 copies of the Fortwo in its first year and it was downhill after that. The bottom fell out when the gasoline models were dropped from the lineup and just 1,276 Smart vehicles were sold in the US. It wasn’t long after that Mercedes Benz pulled the plug.

A tiny area for maybe a couple of bags of groceries.

I remember when Daimler bought Chrysler (the merger of equals?) in 1998. It was the first time senior-level managers met from both companies, of course in Germany, and one of the Daimler guys took a shot at Chrysler’s minivan. The Chrysler guy had a great comeback. Well, how about all the Swatch cars that are getting destroyed when they hit a moose on the German roads? Apparently, there are a lot of moose in Germany. Good shot! “I liked driving the Smart so much, I didn’t even care when a little girl pointed and laughed at me”, said Alex Davies in a review for Business Insider.

RELATED Post: Why men should never be seen driving this car.

MSRP for a 2014 was $14,840 all the way up to the convertible at $29,050. It gets a combined 36 mpg. On the other hand, a guy could purchase a much larger car such as the Honda Insight: MSRP, $18,725, 42 combined mpg. There are also several hybrids that are priced a bit closer to the high end of the Smart MSRP that get the same or better gas mileage. What are they worth now? You can pick one up, although I’m not sure why for well under ten grand.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend. Tell your friends and be sure to check back next week for another one of my spots along with a little bit of history.