Monday, October 30, 2006

‘Gas guzzlers’ to face charge hike

By Chris Wickham
Groundbreaking proposals to slam higher charges on residents with gas-guzzling' cars to park outside their homes have been proposed by Richmond upon Thames Council.
The borough would be the first in the country to charge more for residents' parking permits for those with cars that produce higher CO2 emissions and less for the least polluting cars.
The council will decide on November 6 whether to approve the plan which will see those with the lowest emitting vehicles pay nothing to park outside their homes with a sliding scale for higher emission vehicles.
Under the plans cars which emit less than 110 grams of CO2 per kilometre they drive, such as the Honda Insight petrol electric hybrid, would pay nothing.
Cars such as the Smart car with a 0.7 litre petrol tank or the Peugeot 107 hatchback would get a 50 per cent discount while a BMW X5, Jaguar X type or Porsche 911 driver is set to pay twice as much as before.
Read full story here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Zap Xebra

The fun, compact, and affordable electric vehicle.
Speed:Up to 40 mph (65 km/ph) Range: Up to 40 miles (65 km) Charger: Onboard 110 Volt AC Motor: DC. Seating: Up to 4 (Max 500 lbs.) Battery: Lead Acid Classification: 3 wheel motorcycle (Zero Emission Vehicle) Dimensions: 10 Length (290 cm) x 4.66 Width (142 cm) x 5.05 Height (154 cm) Options: Upgraded Radio/CD, Color, Leather Seats Colors: Ocean Blue, Zebra Flash, Kiwi Green, and Lipstick Red
For more go to

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chinese Smart Car Copy May Hit European Markets Soon

Corporate losses stemming from copyright fraud in China have been estimated in the tens of billions. The latest replica, an electric Smart Car set enter the market soon, has stirred up legal controversy in Europe.
Last month, 13 million illegal videos and CDs were destroyed in China as a symbolic rejection of copyright violation. But now it seems that copying has been taken to the next level.
A duplicate version of the Smart fortwo has been produced by the Chinese company CMEC in the city of Suzhou and has already appeared in Hungary and Great Britain. Starting in 2007, it is to be sold for 4,200 euros ($5,250) under the name City Smart.
"When we designed the car we were aware that we might be opening ourselves up to legal action," said Jerry Chen, sales manager for CMEC, which is usually involved in importing and exporting machine tools. "That's why we've imitated the outside but concentrated on making the interior look different."
The major difference, however, is not the car's appearance but its engine. It has an electric motor that can only propel the vehicle up to 55 kilometers per hour (34 miles per hour), hence the name City Smart.
German Smart Car manufacturer DaimlerChrysler is trying to stop CMEC from selling the copycat vehicle and has demanded that its external appearance be changed.
Chen said that alterations have already been made to the front end and trunk. He added that "the entire impression is now very different," though photos that have popped up in recent weeks on Internet forums and Smart-fan sites reveal that the Chinese City Smart is practically identical to its European twin.
Whether or not CMEC's electric Smart will be released on the broader European market will depend on whether or not they are deemed legal. DaimlerChrysler's lawyers are currently looking into what legal steps can be taken.
DaimlerChrysler plans to introduce its own Smart fortwo successor in March 2007. After heavy losses recently, the Smart Car division hopes for a financial recovery with the more comfortable two-seater.
View source.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Coming to America

The Brazilian-made Obvio! will either be the little green car that could or, as one blogger put it, just 'roadkill.'By Mac Margolis- Newsweek
Oct. 2, 2006 issue - When automotive enthusiast Ricardo Machado made his play for the U.S. car market last year, no one paid him much mind. Machado, a lawyer and real-estate broker in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was by his own admission a stranger to the global automobile industry. What's more, the vehicle he unveiled at a July custom-car fair in Los Angeles—a whimsical, hybrid-fuel three-seater called the Obvio!—had yet to hit the road in America, or anywhere else for that matter.
But in just a few weeks, the Obvio—which Machado's designers modeled after an old Brazilian buggy—started getting second looks. Maybe it was the green-and-tangerine finish, or the trendy Brazilian Havaiana flip-flops glued to the gas and brake pedals. The engine—built to burn gasoline, ethanol or even natural gas—surely helped. "We had to rope it off at the San Francisco auto show" last November, Machado says. It wasn't just idle gawking: by fall 2007, the first batch of a total of 50,000 Brazilian Obvios (some models fitted with electrical engines) will hit the United States. A separate deal to send another 100,000 to Japan and Europe is also in the works.
View source.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Car or fashion accessory?

Photo: Body panel display at Smartville by ALT 2001

In the consumer society that offers something for everyone, there's now a way to coordinate your purse and your heels with your wheels before heading out for a night on the town.
The Smart car -- originally designed by Mercedes-Benz and Swatch -- can be purchased with optional, exchangeable body panels.
Just as Swatch consumers can swap out sections of their watches to suit their color preferences on a given day, Smart car owners can switch their car color by popping body panels off and on. No mechanic required.
"If you are going out to some event for which you would like to have a red car, you can re-skin the Smart in 25 minutes," said Tom Markides, owner of Prestige Imports in Randallstown and the first Maryland distributor of Smart cars.
A full set of panels for a Smart car costs about $900. But fashion -- on the roadway or the runway -- has never been cheap.
- Linda Strowbridge - Arbutus Times

Friday, October 13, 2006

New-car sales dip in Europe

HELSINKI — Renault and GM lost the most ground as new-car sales in Europe fell 2.6 per cent in September, though Fiat, Toyota, BMW and Volkswagen saw sales grow, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association ACEA said Friday.
France's Renault SA saw the largest drop, slipping 14.9 per cent in September compared with the same month last year. It sold 104,815 cars in Europe in September.
Detroit-based General Motors Corp. sold 9.1 per cent fewer cars at 141,551.
Sales of PSA Peugeot Citroen SA cars fell four per cent, while DaimlerChrysler AG only slipped slightly with a one per cent decline with flatter sales of Mercedes and a sharp drop at its Smart car unit. Ford Motor Co. was down just 0.5 per cent, selling more Ford models and fewer Volvos, Land Rovers and Jaguars.
Read full article here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Business smarts 24: Pond's Foto Source, Guelph

99 Wyndham Street North, Guelph,ON - 519 823-5610
292 Stone Road, Guelph, ON - 519 822 7179

Pond's is locally owned and operated by Terry Leahey who is known in Guelph, and throughout the photographic industry, for staying ahead of trends with the latest equipment and supplies. Terry is also a founding member of the Foto Source group of stores - Canada's largest organization of independent Photographic stores with over 300 locations from coast to coast .

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Smart EV

We admit it, we kinda like the Smart Car in all its forms, which is why we picked up on this piece of news that the Merc-owned company is trialing an electric version of its micro car. The website says:
Think of a fortwo. Then think of an electric socket concealed behind what used to be the fuel cap. Picture the complete absence of exhaust fumes, so no CO2 emissions from the rear. Close your eyes and hear… no sound at all coming from the engine. Imagine no engine oil, no road tax, and no London congestion charge and you’ll start to get a sense of what really makes the new smart ev tick.
Powered solely by electricity, the smart ev can achieve the equivalent of 300 mpg – that amounts to a saving of up to 80% in fuel costs over the already highly economical smart fortwo. The ev can travel up to 71 miles between charges, which typically take around 5 hours – ideal for charging at work between your morning and evening commutes.
Smart Car are leasing their first 200 smart EVs to blue chip companies who are happy to meet Smart's requirements to power the cars using only renewable energy sources. When we say zero emissions, we really mean it!
Top speed: 70 mph! - the smart EVView source.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

smart Credit Card

In association with DaimlerChrysler Financial Services and HBos Card Services, smart has launched a new credit card for owners or enthusiasts. The card offers 0% pa on both balance transfers and purchases fixed for the first six months, free online Fraud Protection and an APR of 14.9% on the Platinum Card.
There's a green theme to all this too. The card itself is made from plastic PETG, which has minimal chlorine or other toxic chemicals contained in standard PVC credit cards.
On top of that, thanks to a partnership between smart and the Woodland Trust, every cardholder who activates their card will generate the planting of five new trees, offsetting the 1091kg of CO2 a smart fortwo coupé is assumed to generate during 6000 miles of motoring.
The smart card has been launched to over 60 smart dealers throughout the UK. Applications can also be made online at, or by calling 0808 000 8080.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Beat goes on for tiny Japanese imports

Cute little kei-cars are fun and frugal Legal in Canada under 15-year rule
Oct. 7, 2006. 01:00 AM
Michael Banovsky - Special to the Star
Hooray for loopholes. How else would I be driving a 660 cc, three-cylinder, 60-odd-horsepower Japanese micro-car through the truck-infested streets of Vaughan?
The ride in question was a bright yellow Honda Beat roadster, the type of vehicle originally designed to woo Japanese ladies into using a small car instead of a scooter for their shopping trips. In Japan, it's a kei-car: a maximum length of 3.2 m, maximum width of 1.4 m, and a maximum displacement of 660 cc.
Most enthusiasts know about the 15-year rule here in Canada: if it was not originally sold in Canada or faced import restrictions when new, in most cases that vehicle will be allowed into the country after 15 years.
Earlier this year, Wheels writer Laurance Yap extolled the virtues of the Nissan Skyline GT-R, a legend in Japan and on Gran Turismo discs the world over.
Now, thanks to Eric Mojilever, owner of Shrink My Ride — and a few other Toronto players — you, too, can downsize your transportation without driving an egg.

Read full article here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Citroen Considers Selling Cars in Canada

By William, Oct 5, 2006 8:46 AM
PARIS – Automobiles Citroen may use Canada as its beachhead into North America.
“If we can homologate our cars in Canada, it’s a potential,” says Frederic Banzet, vice-president-international sales. “We’re looking at it.”
Canada’s rules on automotive homologation are not as strict as those in the U.S., and cars such as the Smart Fortwo and the GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co.–built Chevrolet Epica and Optra are sold there but not in the U.S.
The Canadian market absorbs about 1.6 million light vehicles per year, of which a little more than half are passenger cars, the sector in which Citroen would compete. The French auto maker won’t have a cross/utility vehicle to sell until next year.
Well-established generalists that don’t manufacture in Canada, such as Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., sell about 30,000 units a year in the country.
Read full story here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New peek at next SMART fortwo

Posted Sep 25th 2006 6:01PM by John Neff
Mercedes-Benz has decided to provoke our curiosity once again over the next generation SMART fortwo. We've already seen a sand sculpture of it, as well as some mysterious detail shots that promote Coke, but today SMART has released a pair of brand new renderings ahead of the Paris Motor Show at which the car will not debut. Word is it'll launch on its terms at a special event held later in the year. While little information is given about the new fortwo, SMART does say that it will be do everything the current fortwo can do – but a little better. That sounds to us like it will grow a smidge in a few key dimensions and feature a more powerful and efficient engine lineup. That is the trend these days, no?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Toronto smart car Meet

Date & Time: Thurs Oct 5, 2006, 6:30 pm
Place: Kelsey's Bar & Grill Address: 636 Dixon Road, Etobicoke
(401 & 427 - near Pearson Intl. Airport) Phone: 416-240 6932 Menu :

Mercedes unveils 100% recyclable car

An "Eco-Roadster" from the Mercedes Advanced Design Studio in California will be one of the highlights at the LA Autoshow '07 competition.
The Mercedes-Roadster is named the "Recy" and looks like a wood carving. The car would be made out of wood, alloys, glass and rubber to make it 100 percent recyclable.
The form is to transfer the style of the legendary SL into the future. However the two-seater has only two peaks behind the passengers instead of a convertible top. A roof is not intended.
The goal with this competition according to the organizer was to make the vehicle and its driver experience a deep feeling with the environment and help protect it. Therefore the presented concepts consist of recyclable raw materials. The winner will be announced on November 30 at the LA Auto Show
View source.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Business smarts 23: Shlegel's Gymnastics Centre

Schlegel’s Gymnastics Centre Incorporated is committed to the provision of quality programs. Providing solely recreational programs to all age groups, Schlegel’s facility, curriculum and philosophy cater specifically to the recreational athlete.

Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre Inc.
220 Wyecroft Road, Unit 52
Oakville, Ontario L6K 3V1
Phone: 905-842-ELFS (3537)
Fax: 905-842-3539

Fuel-sipping Smart cars may rival hybrids:

Tiny vehicles carry driver, one passenger, a few grocery bags

Oct 01, 2006 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Business News via COMTEX) -- If everyone drove Mercedes' Smart cars, the line of vehicles at traffic lights would be only half as long and parking lots would hold twice as many cars.
A two-car garage would become a four-car garage. If you're still pressed for space, you could park one of these tiny cars on the front porch.
With fuel economy of about 50 to 60 miles per gallon, Smart cars could give hybrids a run for their money. And, unlike the hybrids, there are no expensive battery packs that eventually have to be replaced.
Now back to reality. While two of the micro cars could be squeezed into one parking space, there's only room inside for the driver, one passenger, and a few bags of groceries.
The Smart car is an odd vehicle. It's like a replacement for a motor scooter, but you're protected from the weather, said David Thomas with, a Web site for automobile enthusiasts.
Read full article here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Business smarts 22: Richard Shorney, REMAX Broker

Richard Shorney, Broker RRS
Aboutowne Realty Corp, Brokerage
67 Lakeshore Road West
Oakville, Ontario L6K 1C9

905 338 9000

Second Annual smart Centre Mississauga Meet

Edward Garcia and Justin Sookraj worked their magic with the weather and the crowd yesterday to host a very successful customer appreciation event at Hilton Falls Conservation Authority near Milton.
The 46 smart car owners and their kin enjoyed barbequed hotdogs -- including Yves Baverian the king of veggie dogs--soft drinks and freshly picked local apples. Lots of smart stuff was given away in their draw. Thank you Ed and Justin for making your smart customers feel valued.