Friday, January 27, 2012
Earlier this week, spy photographers from WorldCarFans managed to catch a glimpse of what is supposed to be the next gen of the second gen Smart Fortwo microcar. From the spy images here, we can see that the new Smart Fortwo has been installed with daylight running LED's and minor cosmetic changes. It is also believed that Smart Fortwo microcar third gen will also be available in new and exciting color choices.
Monday, January 09, 2012
By James R. Healey, USA Today
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he grossly overestimated the degree to which Americans would embrace a super-small car. But even though the Fiat 500 fell well short of predictions, Marchionne says it won't hurt the automaker's fortunes.
Marchionne admits he was way off when he forecast that 50,000 Fiat 500s could be sold in the U.S. every year. Until the Scion iQ came along, the stylish Fiat 500 reigned as the second-smallest car on the U.S. market after the eight-foot, eight-inch Smart.
The Fiat 500 is important because it fills the gap for a small, fuel-efficient car in the otherwise Hemi and truck-heavy Chrysler Group line-up. But the brand only sold 19,769 of them last year, 2,325 in December alone.
"Blame me. I'm the guy that came up with the 50,000 forecast," he said today in a session with reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The good news? He says the Fiat 500 is made at a plant in Toluca, Mexico, that's flexible enough to make 500s for other markets and didn't cost a lot to tool-up to build the 500 in the first place.
Fresh from its win in last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, Smart has unveiled a funky electric urban pickup concept at this week’s 2012 Detroit Auto Show.
Yes, this tiny concept car is an open-top pickup complete with a sturdy tray, which Smart claims is ideal for holding a pair of bikes or whatever else the vehicle’s two passengers may wish to carry--along as it’s small.
The electric drive of the For-Us Concept is based on the electric drivetrain that will feature in the latest-generation Smart ForTwo Electric Drive due this spring.
It consists of an electric motor rated at 73 horsepower and 95 pound-feet of torque and a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 17.6 kWh. In the For-Us Concept this zero-emission drivetrain will see the vehicle reach a top speed of 75 mph.
One innovative feature is the vehicle’s charging outlet in the cargo area. Smart suggests carrying a pair of electric bikes, so that any driver of the For-Us can also reach destinations that are out of bounds for cars--for example traffic-calmed zones in the city or isolated park trails.
While we don’t expect Smart to launch a pickup model anytime soon, we can envisage the For-Us Concept’s open-top design featuring on a sporty new roadster model. Following the success MINI has enjoyed with all its variants spun-off the basic Cooper hatchback design, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Smart follow the same route using its next-generation ForTwo as the basis.