Smart SUV's - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-14-2006, 07:43 PM   #1
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After reading this article it is not clear to me at all why you couldn't buy a Smart Car in Canada and drive it back home to the US. If Mercedes' Samrt SUV comes about, Honda's Element may have competition.

Smart Cars and Smart SUVs
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:55 PM   #2
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Smart Cars have been in Canada for some time now.They are very fuel efficient and a great around town vehical.
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:14 PM   #3
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There are already smart car dealers in the US. I saw one in Fife Washington a month or so ago.
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:00 PM   #4
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There are two Zap Smart Cars (legally imported Daimler Smart Cars) for sale on the Ford dealer's lot here in Tipton, Iowa! Zap has been selling them in the U.S. under their name for a while now.

Zap World - Smart Car

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Old 12-15-2006, 05:47 AM   #5
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I was in Knoxville, Tennessee in May...their police department has a couple of these cars. The overhead lights were almost as big as the car! Kinda cute tho...however, how seriously would anyone take the siren? Wonder what it sounds like? beep, beep
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:21 AM   #6
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Don't mean to be a wet blanket, folks, but have you seen what Consumer Reports has to say about the Smart Car. Nothing very good, at all. It is cute, though----.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:48 AM   #7
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Don't mean to be a wet blanket, folks, but have you seen what Consumer Reports has to say about the Smart Car. Nothing very good, at all. It is cute, though----.
Art
Ya, they are cute.
It might be a good idea to think about what in the main thing Consumer Reports does when reading their reviews. They sell magazines and books. They don't always have the best or even good "experts" reviewing products. I used to read and believe them until I started looking closer. A number of years ago I was faithful to their cause, but after reading a couple of reviews about products I had done some extensive discecting on realized that they didn't always know what they were talking about.

My suggestion, as with any review, be a bit sceptical.

Back to our regularly scheduled topic.
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:17 PM   #8
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Actually that Consumer Reports review is very close to what is said about Smarts in Europe. They are largely a fashion, rather a rational, purchase - we can buy very small ordinary cars with four seats for the same money and fuel economy.

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Old 12-15-2006, 01:53 PM   #9
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That's a very old article. The updates:
  • yes, we have them here
  • the next-generation Smart fortwo (due next year) will be sold in the U.S.
  • the SUV idea was cancelled
There is very little real demand in North America for this size of car, which is why they generally have not been sold here, despite their availability everywhere else in the world. The Smart is neither unique nor particularly innovative in most respects, but I think that it is a decent design to meet its one critical requirement, which is an overall length of no more than 2.5 metres.

There are dealers in the U.S., but I assume that this is like buying a watch from the guy in the back alley - it is not endorsed by the manufacturer. The relationship is so bad that ZAP sued Smart last year - ZAP posted the lawsuit on their website; now that's a formula for long-term support! The lawsuit reads like a conspiracy theorist's rant.

As for buying one up here and importing it...
Quote:
So what about heading north and bringing a diesel-powered smart back over the border? JoAnne Caza, a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson in Canada, says don't even think about it. "It is not possible since the Canadian car is not certified for sale in the USA," she says.
Besides, after the importation costs it would be vastly too expensive for what you get. I have looked a Smart over very closely in a local showroom, checked the pricing, and concluded that costs 50% more than I would be willing to pay for the thing.

I have an low opinion of Consumer Reports, for the same reason as Byron, particularly in the case of cars; also, I have not driven a Smart. Despite this, I can believe what they say in their Smart ForTwo road test. They particularly dislike the transmission, which I notice is being entirely replaced for the next version.

I entirely agree with Andrew's assessment of the actual car and its market.
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:00 PM   #10
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Thanks for the ZAP link, Roger. The rest of their lineup (aside from the Smart) is more interesting... or at least amusing.

The Xebra electric cars look like jokes. Either someone forgot to tell ZAP that three-wheelers like this exist only to dodge tax and other rules regarding the operation of four-wheeled vehicles, or maybe that's exactly why they chose this layout.

The Obvio is obviously a fantasy, not a real car yet (or ever?).

The ZAPTruck XL appears to be a common Japanese mini-truck converted to battery-electric operation. Good for park maintenance, but not very relevant to most of the real world.

In this context, the Smart looks like the best idea of the bunch! Although, it would be interesting to see if a ZAPTruck XL with its original engine could tow a Scamp 19' or the new Escape 5.0...
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:58 PM   #11
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So that itty bitty thing demolished a much bigger Mercedes huh?
I guess Mecedes isn't what it used to be.
Let's see it go after a Suburban next.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:59 PM   #12
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They are largely a fashion, rather a rational, purchase - we can buy very small ordinary cars with four seats for the same money and fuel economy.

Andrew
Andrew, we bought an '06 Civic last January. It gives an honest 40 mpg highway and is the same size as the '87 & '88 Accords were. It's roomy, comfortable for four adults, has a LARGE trunk, has a sunroof, wing, AC, all the power gizmos, and the engine is big enough to drive a six-speaker stereo. There wasn't THAT much difference in price.

If the Smart was a 70mpg wonder, rather than a cute 40mpg car it'd have a lot more value.

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Old 12-15-2006, 04:14 PM   #13
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Is the Smart not a deisel?
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Old 12-15-2006, 04:15 PM   #14
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Most of the time, when I see a similar looking car on the road, it has Mexico License Plates. It seems that while they cannot be sold here, it is OK to drive them here... although the cars I am referring to are built by Hyundai.

Once the State of California began issuing permits for single occupant use by certain Hybrid cars of the "High Occupancy Vehicle lane, the obscene price premium for Hybrid cars like Prius became a cost to be borne to get a shorter commute time. Until then, it made more economic sense to buy the Toyota Echo.
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