- Smart (automobile)
smart Type Division of Daimler AG Industry Automotive Founded 1994 Headquarters Böblingen, Germany Products Microcars Parent Daimler AG Website www.smart.com
Smart is an automotive branch of Daimler AG. Smart is a German manufacturer of microcars produced in Hambach, France, and Böblingen, Germany. It is marketed as the "smart" in all lower-case, with the Smart brand logo, as of 2010, denoting a letter "c" for "compact" and an arrow for "forward thinking".
- 1 Origins
- 2 Company history
- 3 Models
- 4 Electric versions
- 5 Smart in Asia
- 6 Smart in North America
- 7 Smart in South America
- 8 Smart in Australia
- 9 Smart in Europe
- 10 Safety
- 11 Modification
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
In the late 1980s, SMH (makers of the Swatch brand of watches) CEO Nicolas Hayek began developing an idea for a new car using the same type of manufacturing strategies and personalization features used to popularize Swatch watches. He believed that the automotive industry had ignored a sector of potential customers who wanted a small and stylish city car. This idea soon became known as the "Swatchmobile". Hayek's private company Hayek Engineering AG began designing the new car for SMH, with seating for two and a hybrid drivetrain.
While design of the car was proceeding, Hayek feared existing manufacturers would feel threatened by the Swatchmobile. Thus, rather than directly competing, he preferred to cooperate with another company in the automotive industry. This would also relieve SMH of the cost burden in setting up a distribution network. Hayek approached several automotive manufacturers and on July 3, 1991 he reached an agreement with Volkswagen to share development of the new project.
By 1993 Ferdinand Piëch had become CEO of Volkswagen and he immediately sought to terminate the project with SMH. Volkswagen had already been working on their own "three-litre car": a car which would consume three litres of fuel per 100 km of driving (the eventual Volkswagen Lupo 3L). Volkswagen's own concept was believed to be a better business proposition, featuring four seats and more cargo room.
Hayek had suspected that Piëch would seek to end the agreement with SMH upon his ascendancy to the CEO position; therefore, he discreetly began approaching other car companies with the Swatchmobile project. Rebuffed by BMW, Fiat, General Motors and Renault, he finally reached an informal agreement with Daimler-Benz AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars.
A deal was announced on March 4, 1994, at a press conference at Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Stuttgart that the companies would join forces in founding Micro Compact Car AG (MCC). 49% of the initial capital of 50 million Swiss francs were provided by SMH and the remaining 51% by Daimler-Benz. The company consisted of two subsidiaries: MCC GmbH based in Renningen (a suburb of Stuttgart) which would design the car, and the then-unnamed manufacturing plant. SMH Auto SA, owned by Hayek, would design a hybrid electric drive system for the car, while Hayek Engineering would audit the design and manufacturing.
The press conference also featured the debut of two concept cars: the eco-sprinter and eco-speedster, styled by Mercedes-Benz's design studio in California. The cars were similar to the eventual Smart City-Coupé. No mention was made of the fact that SMH had no input in the design of these concepts, and they were badged as Mercedes-Benzes.
Three co-directors were immediately named to head the new company: designer and engineer Johann Tomforde and financial administrator Christoph Baubin from Daimler-Benz, and marketing manager Hans Jürg Schär, who spearheaded the original Swatch marketing campaigns in the mid-1980s. Tomforde had been working on the Mercedes City Car (coincidentally abbreviated MCC) project at Daimler-Benz since 1990, which produced the aforementioned eco-sprinter and eco-speedster concepts as well as the Vision-A concept, which eventually became the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
One of the first controversies at MCC was the name of the car itself. Nicolas Hayek insisted it retain 'Swatch' in some way: "Swatchmobile", or "Swatch Car". Daimler-Benz refused, and pushed for a neutral name. The final name settled upon was Smart, an acronym that had been previously used internally by MCC for Swatch Mercedes Art.
By May 1994 the co-directors had identified 74 potential sites for the assembly plant. The final site was announced on December 20, 1994: Hambach, France. The purpose-built factory quickly gained the nickname "Smartville".
Tomforde devised a modular system of assembly for the car, insisting suppliers design and assemble, and even install their own modules onto the final car, at the new plant using their own employees thus reducing the cost overhead for the parent companies and divesting MCC of the financial and legal liabilities for those parts. It also provided a fiscal framework whereby MCC could share the development costs with the suppliers, rather than having to fund the entire project themselves. MCC secured contracts with suppliers to design and supply almost all parts of the car: seats by Faurecia, interiors by VDO, chassis and door modules by Magna, door panels by Dynamit Nobel, and suspension by Krupp.
Despite offloading a substantial amount of the development on the suppliers MCC required more capital. Recapitalization by Daimler-Benz increased their share of ownership in the company to 81%, leaving SMH with only the remaining 19%.
The assembly plant opened October 27, 1997, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting by then-French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Introduction of the new Smart city-Coupé was planned for March, 1998, however dynamic instability of the prototypes prompted Daimler-Benz to announce postponing the launch until October, 1998. Johann Tomforde was replaced as chief engineer by Gerhard Fritz. Fritz lowered the centre of gravity, widened the track, stiffened the suspension, changed the steering, and added ballast weight to the front of the car in order to increase its stability in emergency avoidance manoeuvres (notably the Swedish "moose test").
The car launched successfully in nine European countries in October 1998, however the final design did not fulfill Hayek's expectations. Hayek pushed for a hybrid drivetrain but the final product used a relatively conventional gasoline engine. Shortly afterward Daimler-Benz bought out SMH's remaining stake in the company. MCC was now a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz (which soon merged with Chrysler Corporation to become DaimlerChrysler). The office in Biel was shut down and operations were consolidated at the MCC GmbH design centre in Germany. On January 1, 1999 MCC GmbH changed its name to MCC smart GmbH, and by 2000 it dropped the last vestiges of the association with SMH, becoming smart GmbH.
The model line was eventually expanded to include the Roadster and a rear-engine, rear-drive, four-door, four-seat supermini aptly named Forfour (the original City-Coupé was rechristened Fortwo to fit the new naming scheme).
The ambitious expansion did not increase profits at the company: indeed, smart GmbH lost nearly 4 billion euros from 2003 to 2006. Plans were enacted to increase the company's profitability and integrate its operations with DaimlerChrysler.
In 2005 DaimlerChrysler decided against purchasing a 50% share in the Dutch NedCar plant used to manufacture the ForFour, ending its production. A planned SUV called Formore was terminated as the assembly plant in Brazil was being fitted with machines, and production of the Roadster was discontinued. In 2006, after dwindling sales and heavy financial losses, Smart GmbH was liquidated and its operations were absorbed by DaimlerChrysler directly.
Smart now operates under the Mercedes-Benz Cars division of Daimler AG, offering the Fortwo as its only product.
Apart from the original short Smart Fortwo, a sporty Smart Roadster, a limited production of 2000 concept Smart Crosstown and a supermini Smart Forfour were also offered. These have now been discontinued. There were also plans to introduce the French made cross-over based on the body of the ForFour and the AWD hardware of the Mercedes C-class with the name of Formore but industrialization of this was cancelled at the 11th hour (even as tooling was being installed in the assembly plant) due to unfavourable exchange rate swings and spending cutbacks driven by losses elsewhere within Smart.
Production Model Picture 1998–2000 Smart City-Coupé & City-Cabrio* (*from 2000) 2002 Smart Crossblade 2001–2007 Smart City-Coupé & City-Cabrio (renamed Fortwo in 2004) 2001–2004 Smart K (Japan only) 2003–2005 Smart Roadster 2004–2006 Smart Forfour 2008–present Smart Fortwo 2008–present (in limited trials) Smart Fortwo ED (formerly known as EV)
Concept and unproduced models
An electric, rechargeable version is being released in the UK as a lease vehicle on a limited basis. At the Smart Car Brooklands event in July 2008, a Smart EV was on display within "MercedesWorld" and a representative stated that the car would be for sale in the UK in 2010. Daimler will start the production of the electric Smart equipped with lithium-ion batteries in 2009 and production will ramp up to mass production by 2012. A Smart Forfour has been converted into a plug-in hybrid by Lithium Technology Corporation and Zytek Systems. The lithium-ion battery can propel the vehicle up to 84 miles per hour (135 km/h) and last on its own for up to 20 miles (32 km). The engine is a combination of a 68-horsepower (51 kW), 1.5-liter (92 cu in), 3-cylinder turbo charged diesel engine and two high-efficiency permanent-magnet electric motors. It was awarded by the Energy Saving Trust for the “Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge” project.
Daimler AG and RWE AG have launched the world's largest joint project for environmentally friendly electric cars. Daimler will provide more than 100 electric cars from Mercedes-Benz and Smart as well as the vehicle service.The new generation of Smart ED (electric drive) and electric-battery driven vehicles from Mercedes-Benz will come in use within the "e-mobility Berlin" project. RWE is handling the development, installation and operation of the charging infrastructure". The new project is also benefiting from the experience gained by Daimler during the current pilot project involving electro-mobility in London. Since last year, there has been a test fleet of first-generation Smart Fortwo ed cars . The start of serial production of battery-powered vehicles by Mercedes-Benz and Smart is in 2010.
- Toyota iQ.
- Volkswagen Chico. VW is fast-tracking development of an affordable new two-seat city car. VW can use in the electric vehicle, battery technology from Toshiba.
Electric vehicle conversions
eSmart is a Smart Fortwo electric conversion. It has a 40 km range with AGM batteries (100 km with Li-ion batteries)
Smart in Asia
Older Smart cars equipped with engine sizes smaller than 660 cubic centimetres (40 cu in) fit into the Kei car category of cars in Japan, and are eligible for a range of lower taxes. However, recent models with a larger engine do not meet the Kei qualifications. Because of high taxation on older cars in Japan, many older used Smart cars are exported to other countries with right-hand drive, like Great Britain and South Africa. An official version of the Smart Fortwo called the 'Smart K' has been released to fit the Kei car category. English musician Steve Appleton is featured in a Smart TV commercial, running in Japan during 2010.
Smart was shown in April 2008 at the Beijing Auto Show 2008. Smart Fortwo started the pre-sales in October 2008 and the Smart vending machine road show in 12 cities from October 2008 to February 2009.
Since 29 November 2010, Smart Fortwo cars are available in Indonesia with PT. Mercedes-Benz Indonesia (MBI) as the authorized dealer. Currently, MBI offers three models: Pure Coupe, Passion Coupe, and Passion Cabriolet, and can be purchased in Jakarta and Bali. Indonesia is also the first country in Southeast Asia to have the Smart Electric Drive, which has been lent to the Government of DKI Jakarta for a one-year period and can be extended for further indefinite period by a signed agreement between PT. Mercedes-Benz Indonesia, PT. Siemens Indonesia, and the Government of DKI Jakarta. The Smart ED will then serve as a pilot project to prove the effectivity of zero-emission car usage that can utilize alternative sources of energy.
Smart in North America
The smart fortwo was introduced in Canada in late 2004 and was sold through Mercedes-Benz dealers. Demand was initially heavy with up to 6-month waiting lists in major urban areas in the spring of 2005. The vehicle has been especially popular for commuters, small car fanatics, people needing light delivery and service vehicles, with many carrying custom paint jobs or stick-on graphics boldly advertising an associated business or service. However, the demand relaxed slightly in the second year on the market, and a very tight supply of remaining 2006 model 450 cdis made 2007 sales appear to be a relatively weak. However, sales rebounded strongly once the new 451 started arriving. Canadian smart cdis cannot be registered in some states in the US, though at least 20 are known to be there.
10,239 smart fortwo cdis had been sold in Canada by the first month of 2008. Just before the Type 450 ended production (after which the production had equaled 770,256 cars) Mercedes-Benz Canada built-up stock of cdis to tide dealers over until the successor model 451 arrived at the end of 2007.
The Canadian version of the Type 450 smart fortwo cdi sold to 915 customers over three months in 2004; 4080 were sold in 2005; and 3023 in 2006. Virtually all the deliveries in 2004 and many of the deliveries in 2005 were to long-time smart fans who had been waiting for their car for years, which largely accounts for the higher numbers. Through 2007, sales totalled about 2200, with the last few cars being sold in the first month of 2008, when the new Type 451 was already on sale. The smart's strongest sales performance ever in Canada was in April 2007, when more than 500 units were sold. Sales are strongest (per capita) in Western Canada, with Vancouver Island and Vancouver being especially hot markets for smart.
The 2008-2011 (North America) smart fortwo Type 451 was totally redesigned, with a 70 HP naturally aspirated Mitsubishi-sourced gasoline engine of 999 cc for North America, up from the 799 cc cdi diesel, with the attendant loss of fuel economy. smart decided not to import the cdi version of the 451, now with 55 DIN HP, although this decision has led to criticism that the new smart does not get the fuel economy that many would expect from such a small car. The 799 cc, far more fuel efficient diesel is sold in Europe and some other World markets.
The BRABUS Tailor-Made program is not well advertised in Canada, but no less than 15 Tailor-Made cars have been produced to Canadian specification. These vehicles are sent to the BRABUS factory in Bottrop, Germany, where the standard ex-works cars are stripped to the shell and repainted/retrimmed to suit individual customers' tastes. The first four are the BRABUS Canada 1; three in bright red (including the tridion, two cabriolets and one coupé) and one in all white (a cabriolet). Aside from the special paint, all had every BRABUS part fitted to the body and interior, and the seats, door panels and dashboards were trimmed in black Nappa leather and Alcantara. Three of these cars are in British Columbia and #1-of-1, the Concept vehicle used at Canadian International Auto Shows (a red cabrio with silver alloys), is now in London, Ontario. The next BRABUS Tailor-Made Canadian car was a one-off all orange 451 made for a customer in Vancouver. The other ten were all ordered by Mercedes-Benz Canada as the special "edit10n" of the Canadian BRABUS 451 (with only 70 HP), painted in metallic dark grey with an orange Nappe leather interior.
In 2009 the Government of Canada acquired the European Smart mhd (micro hybrid drive) through partnership with Mercedes-Benz Canada. The project was administered by the ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles(eTV) program within Transport Canada. Goals were to identify the benefits of the start-stop system equipped on the vehicle and how to accelerate the penetration of this technology throughout Canada. See Smart mhd Test Results Report.
Before 2008, Smart cars were only available in the United States as "grey market" imports, such as ZAP. U.S. federal regulations allow certain grey market importing in large quantities provided the vehicles are modified and tested to conform to U.S. safety and emissions regulations. Smart cars were imported into the United States by "The Defiance Company LLC", modified by G&K Automotive Conversion in Santa Ana, California, and distributed and sold by independent dealerships which were not affiliated with Mercedes. U.S. regulations did not permit the purchase and import of used Smart CDi vehicles from Canada, as the diesel powered Canadian Smarts did not meet American emissions regulations.
In June 2006, DaimlerChrysler confirmed that Smart would be officially launched in the United States in the first quarter of 2008. The cars are offered through a dealership holding company Penske Automotive Group, which created a new U.S. dealership network for the brand under the name Smart USA. Initially, an updated gasoline powered Fortwo was offered, starting around US$12,000. The new model made its debut at European auto shows in November 2006.
"Hybrid Technologies" plans to sell an electric version of the Smart vehicle in the U.S. starting at US$35,000. It is being called a hybrid car even though the vehicle is all-electric. The electric Smart car will have a range of 120 to 150 miles (190–240 km), a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h), and charge in 5 to 6 hours using a standard 120 V AC outlet. An electric Smart is currently undergoing testing in the UK and will only be offered to commercial clients as a trial for the time being. The electric model is scheduled for a U.S. release for the 2012 model year with some test market cars surfacing in 4th quarter 2010.
A Forbes article has been critical of the stated reasons that Daimler-Chrysler gave for introducing the car in the United States. The Smart fortwo is the most fuel-efficient gasoline-engined car for sale in the US; however, according to the EPA, the Smart's fuel efficiency is lower than the fuel efficiency of some hybrids such as the Ford Fusion, the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic Hybrid, and the 2-seat Honda Insight (making it the fourth most fuel efficient vehicle in the U.S.), which achieve 41/36, 51/48, 40/43, and 40/43 respectively while the Smart achieves 33 city and 41 highway, though the Smart fortwo, which is not a hybrid, costs about half as much as a hybrid in the US.
The unique design of the Smart has received much attention in the U.S. In its April 2008 issue, Men's Vogue raised the question, "in a nation where your supersized car is your castle, is the Smart too mini for a man?".
To obtain a Smart originally required obtaining a "reservation" costing $99 through a dealer or over the internet. The waiting time in January 2009 was approximately 12 months; however, as of July 2009 there was no wait to obtain a vehicle and dealers have them in stock for immediate delivery.
On January 25, 2010, Smart USA began its first lease program in the US market for smart fortwo models. The program was scheduled to last through February 28, 2010, but has been extended indefinitely despite lack of leasing sales.
Smart USA has appointed its first dealer in Puerto Rico. The new dealer is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is part of the Penske Automotive Group. It is also a part of Triangle Automotive Group, an automotive retailer in Puerto Rico.
Penske Automotive Group announced plans February 14, 2011, to relinquish distribution of the smart fortwo under smart USA, to Mercedes-Benz USA. In 2011, smart USA offers four versions of their fortwo model. These models include the following: cabriolet, the high-cost convertible version; passion, the mid-cost moonroof version; pure, the low-cost basic version; and electric drive, the electric version.
The Smart cars were first introduced to the country in 2003, and were sold in department stores Sanborns and Liverpool. Later Mercedes Benz dealers started to offer the car, which although very attractive to the public was considered very expensive and was seen as a toy car only for young people.
Currently Smart cars are still offered in the country but with little acceptance, with only the Fortwo model available.
Smart cars have fierce competition with the Hyundai Atos, Pontiac Matiz, and Chevrolet Chevy, which are compacts with low gas consumption at less than half the cost of a Smart Car but with more space for passengers.
Smart in South America
In South America Smart can be found in two countries: Argentina  and Brazil. In Argentina Smart is for sale since 2010 and models (Fortwo Cabrio and Fortwo Coupé) can be bought in "Smart Centers" located in trendy spots of Buenos Aires like Puerto Madero neighbourhood. Although Smart cars can be good options in the crowded streets and avenues of Buenos Aires city, the price is considered high (from u$s 24.000) in comparison to other small cars which are made in Argentina. However, sales are expected to be successful.
Smart in Australia
Since 2003 Smart has been for sale in Australia. All Smart models that have been produced have been sold in Australia. The Smart is currently sold through Mercedes-Benz Dealerships. Recently Smart has become popular among young people in urban areas of Australia, particularly in its largest cities. Mercedes-Benz Dealerships around Australia as of 2003 are only offering Smart vehicles in the "Pulse" mid-range trim, thus the "Passion", "Brabus Xclusive" and other trims are not available as yet, until further notice or changes.
Smart in Europe
Launched in the UK in 2000, smart has seen the number of dedicated fans and owners grow year after year. The current range features the smart fortwo cabrio and fortwo coupe. Most popular amongst those living in cities, smart is available in the UK through Mercedes-Benz retailers. smart car UK enjoys a loyal and passionate fan-base. As a result the UK is host to a number of annual smart car events, both official and unofficial, including the largest one-day gathering of smart cars in the world, smart festival. smart festival is held annually at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, near historic Brooklands - the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit. The smart fortwo electric drive is currently going through user trials in the UK and will go on general release in 2012.
Smart vehicles use a very small front crumple zone. The new Smart Fortwo has been awarded 4 out of 5 stars in the Euro NCAP Adult Occupant Protection and 2 out of 4 stars in the Pedestrian protection test, but was not tested for Child Occupant Protection as it has no rear seats. The original Smart was awarded 3 out of 5 stars for Adult Occupant Protection. In American tests using a five star rating, Smart cars received a four star safety rating for the driver from a front impact, and a five star safety rating for the driver for a side impact. It also received "Good" ratings (top rating) for front and side crash protection in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests. However, in an April 2009 40 mph frontal offset crash test between a Fortwo and a Mercedes C class, "the Smart went air- borne and turned around 450 degrees" causing "extensive intrusion into the space around the dummy from head to feet". The IIHS rated the Smart Fortwo "Poor," noting that "Multiple injuries, including to the head, would be likely for a real-world driver of a Smart in a similar collision."
The main structure of the car is a stiff structure called a Tridion Safety Cell, which is designed to activate the crumple zones of a colliding vehicle. This design creates a "very strong safety cell" around the passengers, according to the manufacturer.
Smart cars have been modified by Brabus of Germany, resulting in Brabus production models. Other companies modify the Smart to use motorcycle engines, such as the Suzuki Hayabusa 1340 cc inline four-cylinder. These cars are known as Smartuki. The most powerful models can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in less than 3.5 seconds. The original car was fitted with a mildly tuned engine and ran 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, 1/4 mile standing start in 12.4 seconds and a top speed of 132 mph (212 km/h). It is possible to push the GSXR engine further; nitrous Oxide will add another 50 bhp (37 kW; 51 PS) - 80 bhp (60 kW; 81 PS) and there is a turbocharged option.
Some companies and individuals upgrade the original engine to Brabus spec, but these have been taken even further by some with many aftermarket upgrade options available.
Examples of individual user modifications and maintenance can be found here: http://www.fq101.co.uk
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Smart (automobile) — Smart Cet article concerne la société allemande Smart. Pour les autres significations, voir Smart (homonymie). Logo de Smart … Wikipédia en Français
Smart City Coupé — Smart Fortwo Smart City coupé Constructeur Smart Production totale 770 000 exemplaires Classe Micro Citadine M … Wikipédia en Français
Smart City coupe — Smart Fortwo Smart City coupé Constructeur Smart Production totale 770 000 exemplaires Classe Micro Citadine M … Wikipédia en Français
Smart City coupé — Smart Fortwo Smart City coupé Constructeur Smart Production totale 770 000 exemplaires Classe Micro Citadine M … Wikipédia en Français
Smart Fortwo — Smart City coupé Constructeur Smart Années de production 1997 2007 Production … Wikipédia en Français
Smart city coupé — Smart Fortwo Smart City coupé Constructeur Smart Production totale 770 000 exemplaires Classe Micro Citadine M … Wikipédia en Français
Smart Roadster — Constructeur Smart Années de production Avril 2003 Novembre 2005 Production … Wikipédia en Français
Smart roadster — Constructeur Smart Production totale 43 000 exemplaires Classe Mini sportive Mot … Wikipédia en Français
Smart — usually means highly intelligent. Smart or SMART may also refer to:People: *Christopher Smart, English poet *Amy Smart, an American actress and former fashion model. *J. J. C. Smart, a Scottish professor of philosophy *Jean Smart, an American… … Wikipedia
Smart — Tipo Subsidiaria Fundación 1994 Sede B … Wikipedia Español