Tag: microcar

By on June 19, 2017

2017 smart fortwo cabrio electric drive (Euro spec image)

It’s been roughly a decade since Daimler’s Smart Automobile first caressed America’s purple mountains and amber waves of grain with the microscopic Fortwo. Despite a promising first year in the United States, the brand never really managed to carve a space out for itself in a competitive and size-obsessed marketplace. The same is true (over a slightly longer timeline) for Canada.

Standalone Smart dealerships have become a rarity, frequently rolled into Mercedes-Benz sales lots over the years. But both have to ask themselves the same question: Is it worth pursuing sales when Daimler converts the little two-seater into a pure electric later this year and abandons the gasoline engine?

Obviously, the gut reaction is to tell every Mercedes-Benz franchise “probably not” and recommend any standalone Smart dealership immediately consider arson. Small car sales in North America are dwindling and EV sales are miniscule. Claiming a vehicle that exists as one of the least capable examples of both is a good investment is not something any rational person would suggest. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the unfortunately named Fortwo ED in North America.  (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

smart-fortwo

You’d probably never guess this from examining any parking lot in suburban North America, but Daimler’s microcar brand is actually doing exceedingly well. Despite the global trend toward crossovers, Smart saw record sales last year and increased its global volume 21 percent to 144,479 units. More amazing is that it’s still a brand that owes the entirety of its success to one niche market.

Smart doesn’t seem interested in changing course, either. While it’s abandoning internal combustion units to pursue a strict EV-only mentality in the United States, it will be business as usual for the the rest of the planet. But, with much of the industry offering spanking new compact crossovers and with fuel prices still so low, wouldn’t it be in Smart’s best interest to look beyond the limited microcar segment?  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2015

MurrayT25_big

Royal Dutch Shell and Gordon Murray will partner on a new city car project, based heavily on Murray’s T25 city car project. The vehicle, dubbed Project M, is described as a “simple, practical global city car”.

(Read More…)

By on August 8, 2011

It will come as no surprise to regular TTAC readers when I say that Scion has had some sales issues lately. But instead of euthanizing the brand as some on TTAC have suggested, Toyota has decided to take a different route. Thankfully, rather than creating more me-too models based off of US-market Toyotas, the plan includes some JDM/Euro models and the much anticipated “Toyobaru “sports car. The first object of foreign desire landing stateside to start off Scion’s resurrection is the Toyota iQ micro-car. The iQ should be in showrooms across the country soon, but does Scion have the IQ to make a smarter Smart?

(Read More…)

By on December 16, 2009

Let’s go! Picture courtesy life.com

Freshly wedded Suzuki and Volkswagen are not losing any time in consummating the marriage. Joint work will start immediately, or rather on January 10, 2010 said Suzuki Chief Executive Osamu Suzuki to Reuters. With that date, Suzuki-San is already bowing to Wolfsburg’s ingrained culture. As of this coming Friday evening, everybody who is somebody at VW will be off skiing in Zermatt or soaking in the surf of the Maledives, not to return before January 10th. No linkup with Suzuki will change that.
(Read More…)

By on November 11, 2009

Make that the Mattel Nano...

The Economic Times of India reports that Tata is considering offering knock-down kits of its Nano microcar and allowing franchisees to offer the world’s cheapest car as a private-label brand. The move is being considered as Tata’s dedicated Nano plant is still ramping up to its 350k unit annual production level, and the company is still having a hard time filling demand. Can’t you just see twelve-packs of Nanos at Costco?

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