Thursday, May 31, 2007

DaimlerChrysler to pull smart ad boasting ‘Extremely low emissions'

DaimlerChrysler is reported by German media including Autohaus to have undertaken to suspend an ad for its smart fortwo diesel model at the behest of a court in Stuttgart, which ruled in favour of an environmental group, which had complained that the vehicle lacked the type of advanced diesel particulate trap that would have justified its ‘extremely low emissions’ claim. The diesel smart fortwo has CO2 emissions of just 88 g/km, the lowest value of any current mass-produced car, and it will feature a state-of-the-art diesel particulate filter from the 2008 model year.

View source.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

London 'CO2 charge' hit by delay

London Mayor Ken Livingstone's plan to turn the capital's congestion zone into a low emissions zone has been put on ice, Autocar has learned.
Three weeks ago we reported on Transport for London's plan to introduce a sliding scale tariff in place of the current £8-a-day congestion charge. As part of it, cars emitting less than 120g/km of carbon dioxide, like the Smart Fortwo, Citroen C1 and Toyota Prius, will be able to enter the city centre for free, while those emitting more than 225g/km of CO2 – sports cars, luxury saloons, SUVs and a great many others – will be liable for a whacking £25-a-day sting.
Autocar understands that TfL has appointed consultants to advise on how best to implement the new system, and how markedly it might affect CO2 emissions in the city centre. According to various sources, among them The Guardian and the BBC, the Mayor's plan was to put this new carbon emissions-based charge in place in spring 2008, in time for the London Mayoral election.

Read full article here.
(Photo: Cheshire Fire Service)

Monday, May 28, 2007

smart destination Brooklands

(Photos by Annette Lloyd Thomas, Brooklands 2001-we drove our first smart, a 2000 all-black pulse, to this event)
thesmartclub in association with Mercedes-Benz and smart, is delighted to announce an exciting new Major Event for 2007.
You can join us for a massive gathering of smart cars, smart owners and smart enthusiasts for a day of driving, entertainment and attractions at Mercedes-Benz World, UK on July 28th 2007.
Doors open at Mercedes-Benz World at 10:00 hrs, with a range of engaging and entertaining activities starting at 12:00hrs (noon), including test drives of the new smart fortwo. You will be able to enjoy smart-related brand displays, driving attractions, boutique accessory stands and access to all the facilities at the innovative Brand Experience centre.
In addition to these activities and attractions, you will also have access to a large number of independent smart suppliers specialising in after-market parts, accessories and performance products.
Plus, we'll have a number of competitions on the day in addition to a range of food and beverage facilities and, of course, you can take the opportunity to visit the Brooklands Museum.
Best of all, access to the Event itself will be FREE of charge.
A full list of attractions, the Event timings for the day plus much more will be published here from 1st June onwards.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kia's Baby Picanto Receives an Update

Across the Atlantic, in Spain, Kia is preparing to take the covers off its facelifted city car, the Picanto. This is a truly small vehicle, the smallest vehicle Kia has ever built, and one that is significantly smaller than the Rio subcompact. The Picanto is located in the class below subcompacts, a category of vehicles we currently don't have here. It's significantly larger than the Smart fortwo, but smaller than a MINI, if that gives any indication of its dimensions. While Kia and Hyundai share platforms and development on vehicles, the Picanto was developed by Kia, and there's no Hyundai equivalent.
In a market hungry for small, affordable cars, Kia has had great success with the Picanto. In less than three years Kia managed to attract a quarter million European buyers into their smallest car, in a segment in which it had no previous experience. Currently, the Picanto competes with cars like the Toyota Aygo, the Daewoo-designed, Korean-built Chevrolet Matiz and the segment's veteran, the Ford Ka.
Read full article here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Smart car breaks man's 120ft fall

A Slovenian man survived a fall from the twelfth floor of a block of flats when he landed on a Smart car 120 feet below.
Darko Mirinovic, 25, is being treated in hospital in the capital Ljubljana for broken arms, legs and ribs - but doctors at the Clinical Centre Hospital said it was amazing he had survived at all.
Saso Jovanovic, who owns the Smart car which broke the man's fall, said: "I didn't know whether to be happy or sad, he ruined my car, but it saved his life."

View source.

[I'm wondering whether it was a coupe or a cabrio]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

smart USA Launches Cross-Country Road Show to Introduce the fortwo

Consumers Can Test-Drive Vehicles in 50 Cities Nationwide May Through November
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 9, 2007--A small car with a big urban solution is coming to the streets of cities across the United States as eager consumers will have their first opportunity to experience the fun and functionality of the smart fortwo. smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of United Auto Group, Inc, (NYSE:UAG), is launching a national road show May 19, starting in Los Angeles, California, to introduce the revolutionary smart fortwo to U.S. consumers. The tour provides a hands-on experience, allowing consumers to test-drive the fortwo and experience its innovation, functionality and the joy of driving. The 50-city tour will visit events from festivals and universities, to sporting events and retail outlets, to other popular city destinations through November.

Read full report here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mercedes Car Group Delivers 97,800 Vehicles to Customers around the World in April 2007

Stuttgart, Germany, May 07, 2007
The Mercedes Car Group delivered 384,600 Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and smart brand passenger vehicles worldwide in the first four months of 2007 (January-April 2006: 395,800). In April 2007, sales amounted to 97,800 units (April 2006: 100,800 units). The Mercedes-Benz brand achieved a new sales record for the period from January through April, with deliveries increasing by two percent to 365,000 units (January-April 2006: 357,300). In April 2007, 90,600 customers around the world chose to purchase a Mercedes-Benz model (April 2006: 91,300).

Customer response to the new smart fortwo has been excellent in the first month since the vehicle’s official market launch. smart fortwo sales increased by 14 percent in April to 6,900 units. A total of 7,200 smart brand vehicles were sold during the month.

Read full report here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Toyota readies a Smart rival

A Toyota Smart? Tell me more...
Remember the Toyota Endo? It was one of many concept cars vying for attention at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, but the Japanese firm is now readying a production version to show this autumn, CAR Online has learned.

It's a sub-Aygo city car to square up to DaimlerChrysler's Smart Fortwo; DC boss Dieter Zetsche recently told CAR Online that Smart had been close to extinction, but the product planners were convinced that the market for tiny city cars would grow in an environmentally pressured age, so the brand was saved. Toyota now wants a slice of this market and a production Endo is due in showrooms in 2008.
View source.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cochrane firm's add-ons make Smart cars tow-worthy

Greg Williams, For The Calgary Herald
Les McDonald of Cochrane was drawn to the Smart car because of its miserly fuel consumption - little did he know the car would provide the basis for a new career.
McDonald, 37, has begun importing and manufacturing aftermarket parts for the Smart car. But these aren't parts that add a little extra bling. These are parts that add to the ultimate utility of the diminutive automobile.
"I bought my Smart car about two years ago," McDonald says. "I loved it and it was so different from what I used to drive." What he used to drive was a V-8 powered Dodge Dakota pickup. "I drove a lot for work and the gas bills were just staggering," he says. "I wanted to put some of my money back in my pocket."
McDonald operates Tracker Productions. He produces high definition promotional videos and commercials and must carry cameras, tripods and lighting kits in his vehicle. He says the Smart car always accommodated the load, but he sometimes felt pinched by the lack of space.
While searching the Internet for aftermarket Smart car parts, McDonald stumbled across a German product called the Clever End. The device, which is basically a body extension, replaces the stock rear tailgate/back window and fastens to four frame anchor points, two at the top and two at the bottom. The Clever End effectively doubles the carrying capacity of the Smart car.
Read more here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Why a Gold-plated Smart Car? Why Not?

Wednesday May 2, 2007 7:45 AM PDT - By: Dave White

"It is a gold-plated Smart Fortwo, though, and it can be yours for a ton of money.It's exactly like all of the other Smart cars, except different. It's a big difference, too, and it probably means a big jump in price, if this idea ever hits the wide-open market. We're not sure how this one will go over. Seems like you'd spend more time polishing the car than actually driving it. Of course, you could always hire someone to polish the car.Then there are all the benefits of driving a Smart Fortwo, like low emissions and high gas mileage and ease of parallel parking—important things like that. So we'll wait and see."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Citroen's 2CV is back!

The legendary tin snail is set to return - and we have full details
By Sam Hardy 02 May 2007

Here's proof that Citroen is set to come out of its shell when it comes to car design - because the 'tin snail' is back! These pictures show how a successor to the 2CV is shaping up. Boasting a thoroughly modern interpretation of the classic design, it has its eyes on the lucrative family car market. Based on insider information, our pictures show what you have to look forward to. Taking over where the Evoque concept car of 2005 left off (Issue 865) the shape is instantly recognisable and couldn't be confused with anything else. As Fiat has done with the 500 and VW with the Beetle, Citroen has followed the current trend for reinventing classic models. By cashing in on the charm of the original 2CV, the French firm is set to launch into uncharted territory - going up against prestige models such as BMW's MINI. With the same curved bonnet, slab sides and covered rear wheels, it looks just like the original 2CV, which first appeared in 1948.

Read full article here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mitsubishi Motors back in black for first time since 2002

26th April 2007
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today announced its results for the year ending March 31, 2007, together with forecasts for the year ending March 31, 2008. Consolidated sales for fiscal 2006 totalled 2 trillion, 202.9 billion yen: an increase of 82.8 billion yen over the previous fiscal year. Favourable yen exchange rates and a more profitable model mix more than offset decreases in retail sales volume and in the OEM supply volume resulting from the ending of the production of the smart forfour model at the MMC/DaimlerChrysler Nedcar plant in the Netherlands.
Read full report here.