June 1, 2006
SmartCars in U.S.?
June 1, 2006 9:43 AM
Bob R. Says:
Unfortunately, DaimlerChrysler has been deciding this "next month" for several years now.
The most popular and high-MPG version of the Smart Car is diesel... it will be interesting to see if it can be cleaned up enough to match California/Oregon/Washington emissions requirements.
- Bob R.
June 1, 2006 12:47 PM
Benjamin Freeman Says:
I've been following the turns an twists of the SmartCar comming to the US, ZAP, Inc. is distributing it in the US but only the gas version. MB sells both versions in Canada already. Smart sold distribution rights to Zap 2 years ago since MB hesitated (basically a repeat of the G-Wagon fiasco). Now MB wants to sell it an ZAP is seuing MB. Isn't Amarica a interesting place. The other interesting point is the vechicle retails as indicated by SmartCar is $15K for the 4 door version. But there selling here in the US for $27K drive up to Seattle and there sitting on a dealers lot. Whiel I love the look and milage at 60mpg gas version. But at nearly $30k they can keep it. Just my two cents-
June 1, 2006 2:02 PM
Bob R. Says:
I understand that part of the appeal of Smart cars in Europe is that two or even three of them can fit, sideways, into a standard parallel parking space.
For them to have a similar appeal here, even at the original intended base price of around $14-$15K, the legalities of parking in such a manner would have to be made clear.
Do you know how the reality of parking these cars works in Europe? Are parking spaces subdivided by markings or signage? Or are there special spaces just for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles, NEVs (or equivalent) and Smarts?
- Bob R.
June 1, 2006 2:50 PM
Lance Lindahl Says:
I used to think that the tiny little SmartCar would never sell here in SUV loving America.
Then I vacationed in Vancouver, BC last summer and saw that they were everywhere. They are as common there as Mini Coopers and VW Bugs are here.
Let's hope that they start selling them in the US real soon.
June 1, 2006 4:22 PM
Dan Kaempff Says:
Bob R. sez: "Do you know how the reality of parking these cars works in Europe? Are parking spaces subdivided by markings or signage? Or are there special spaces just for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles, NEVs (or equivalent) and Smarts?"
I've never seen any special parking designated for Smarts and other micro cars in my European travels, admittedly limited to Italy and the Netherlands. Both in Rome and Amsterdam, they seem to be parked wherever they can squeeze in.
A Smart is featured in "The DaVinci Code" movie now playing. I wonder if that was a deliberate product placement, and DaimlerChrysler's announcement is strategically timed? I am inclined to think there's a connection, but I have no proof. But, as Bob stated, they've been toying with the idea of a U.S. launch for years now. I'd like to see them here...I think the time is right. When G.M. is having to buy the gas for its customers in order to sell it's honkin' huge SUVs, I take that as a pretty solid sign that the public is looking for more efficient cars.
June 1, 2006 4:33 PM
Bob R. Says:
A Smart is featured in "The DaVinci Code" movie ... I am inclined to think there's a connection, but I have no proof.
How appropriate a statement, considering the plot of the movie. :-)
- Bob R.
June 2, 2006 2:39 AM
Bob -- smart cars are everywhere in western europe. Obviously, part of the appeal is that you can fit into spaces that others cannot. In NA, we generally have uniformly sized, designated parking spaces. In europe, the parking is neither designated nor of a uniform size. Hence, a park-wherever-you-can ethic, including on sidewalks and in medians. Which makes the smart great for parking in w.Europe.
I don't think the smart will translate to NA that well. Some areas of Portland do not have designated parking spaces, but, except for NW, these zones do not have an extreme parking shortage compared to European cities.
June 4, 2006 4:30 PM
Most neighborhoods in Portland, including NW, do not have designated parking 'spots.' They are extremely inefficient. Downtown parking 'spots' only make sure that SUVs can fit into the street.
A Smart car would be excellent in NW Portland, although parking is so tight, that you will still have trouble finding spots!
June 29, 2006 8:15 PM
smartcars are coming and lets hope they do good in the US, currently canada is the only country where sales for smarts are going up, hope USA is same