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Maybe you've heard this already, but they are bringing the SmartCar to the US.

http://www.smartusa.com/

The only way they will sucessfully sell this is if they can show a film of the thing being impacted by H2s and Escalades at various angles and the people inside walking away. The smart car is a great idea, but seems incredibly risky considering the percentage of cars on the road here that are 6 times bigger at least.

But uh, kudos to them for trying!

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
seraphsmorgan
Jul. 24th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Wow - it's like a rollerskate for a transformer. Or maybe the foot of a giant robot if there were 19 other vehicles to form Voltron with.

I get the whole fuel economy angle, but what a god-awful looking thing.
snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
I think it's cute for the exact same reasons!
booyeah
Jul. 24th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Do they fit amerians over 6 feet tall? The safety thing would worry me a bit, but I'd consider a car like this if I lived and worked in a city, where really you're not generally over 30-40 miles per hour all the time. I'd definitely want another car for beltway driving.
snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
A fine question. I don't think an answer from a European perspective would be useful here because I believe safety requirements might mean structural changes to the european versions of the car that would change the feel of the height. The mini cooper had the same problem - much different car over here, from what I understand.
prakriti
Jul. 24th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
they do! a good friend of mine is a devoted smart car fan and he is of the tall, lanky, over 6 ft variety.
]The insides of the car are very roomy for 2 people.
oontzgrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
I think they're designed moreso for the city, and not so much for highway driving. In a city scenario I think they'd be a very useful car, and the safety thing would be less of an issue because of the lower speeds that people typically drive.

I love them, but if I actually lived in a city where a smartcar would be handy, I think I'd probably rather just buy a vespa. :)
snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I know anyone who has a strictly urban lifestyle!
asimplelife
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
This may be more insightful. I like to consider that cars like the Cooper mini do fairly well in North America (and the Smart does very well in Canada, judging from all the cars I see on the road).

It also saddens me that the solution to having too many large cars on the road is to buy an EVEN LARGER car than your neighbor's.

snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
It also saddens me that the solution to having too many large cars on the road is to buy an EVEN LARGER car than your neighbor's.

Word to my Canadian partner in cynicism today!!
asimplelife
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
Let's get cynical, cynical!
I wanna get cynical
Let's get into cynical
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
HAHAHA

I think that was the first music video I ever saw.
judithiscariot
Jul. 24th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
dude, the BOJ & i saw one in vankleek hill!
rakin
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
What are the specs on these things?
multiplexer
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing the Smart concept car at NAIAS once year, many years ago. We also saw them all over Rome back in 2000.

The problem with cars like these is that the US is big. Really big. You think it's big, and it's bigger than that. It's immense. And, to make things worse, the US is founded on the concept that anyone can own some land and call it a home if you pony up enough cash. We all want to live somewhere with our own land, and there's plenty of land, and there are plenty of Americans, so we spread out into suburbs and exurbs in our goofy McMansions instead of living in clustered cities. And thus, we drive. Alot. A lot and a lot and a lot.

Living in Rome, a SmartCar would rock. If I lived in Rome, I would totally own one. It would get you out of the city on excursions, you can park it in one of the teeny tiny alleyways or in one of the 5 parking spots in the city, and you could run over crazy people on Vespas. Since, if you live in Rome, you never need to leave Rome, it's perfect and wonderful and awesome and happy.

But the idea of taking one of these things on the Capital Beltway at rush hour -- hell, I drive a light truck with rollbars and a paint job I'm not terribly attached to and I don't like driving the Capital Beltway at rush hour.

Fabulous idea. I don't know if they're going to sell to anyone.
rakin
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Found it...
... ugh

http://www.zapworld.com/cars/smartCar.asp

I don't know if they will sell. Maybe it will. But if I was an urban driver I don't know if I would own a car. For example, if I lived in New York City there is no WAY I would have a car. I love my current car for the horsepower, cargo space and the smooth ride. Right now there is no way I would own a Smart Car. But I do agree that something needs to be done with cars and/or fuel.
(Deleted comment)
malkin
Jul. 25th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, there were a few in Sydney, too, when I was living there.
sesby
Jul. 24th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
We have one and love it :)
ubet_cha
Jul. 24th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
I think smartcars are fantastic for people that live, work in the city or have shorter commutes in the burbs. Since there are literally tens of thousands of folks that have lives meeting that description I hope they catch on here.
judithiscariot
Jul. 24th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
i think most people who buy great big cars should be kicked in the shins. by me.
snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
i support this.
dj_ango
Jul. 24th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
They were all over in paris, and big suv's are rather popular there. (surprising, but true. Anything on a music video, I'm pretty sure, is copied all over the world.)
There's even a sport's version. It's even smaller:
http://www.geocities.com/perry_peterson_1999/c.jpg

I love how you can parallel park them perpendicular to the curb.


snidegrrl
Jul. 24th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have nightmares about that! But I asked for it!! Whoah.

I am spceifically curious about it standing up to a bumper that's about eye level, which is probably where the H2 bumper comes to.
curious_jp
Jul. 25th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
We have something similar here in Japan - KCars. You get a reduced insurance premium, and some of them are light enough that I've watched a cyclist walk away from getting t-boned by one at a red light.

The problem you describe with marketing seems symptomatic not so much of a potential for bad smartcar design as an existing problem with retards buying massively over-engineered vehicles. :-(

I think the biggest problem is that it might not be so good at doing the kind of long distance road travel that America and Americans seem so enamored of. All the same, I hope it takes off!

-- curious_jp
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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