Renault Twingo and Smart ForFour to share Rear Wheel Drive Platform

March 4th, 2013

rear-wheel-drive-platformThe future Twingo by Renault and the Smart ForFour will be using the same rear wheel drive platform. This information was recently shared by top executives of Smart during a recent interview.

This move shows the deepening collaboration between Renault-Nissan and Daimler, the parent company of Smart. The vehicle manufacturers are tying to find a way to cut some cost by developing and possibly producing their upcoming models together.

Under the agreement of the three-year-old pact of Renault-Nissan and Daimler, the French car manufacturer will come up with battery and gasoline-operated version of the Smart ForFour in Slovenia side by side with the Renault Twingo.

The two mincars are set to hit showrooms by 2014 or a year later as originally announced by the two companies. The reason for the delay was not disclosed by Renault or Smart.

The move to a RWD platform of the Twingo is a move of the brand to make it a more upscale package. This adds to the credibility of the vehicle and be seen as a different player in its segment. The sales of Twingo dropped by as much as 31% placing at fourth in its market segment. The Fiat Panda was on top of the segment followed by the Fiat 500 and the VW Up.

On the other side of the fence, Smart stopped the production of the first version of the Smart ForFour due to poor sales. The vehicle derived its DNA from the Mitsubishi Colt. Smart sees a better partnership with the French carmaker that has a wider range of available technology and production services.

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Weird car designs: 2013 Smart Forjeremy, with wings?

December 10th, 2012

2013-smart-forjeremyWe are suckers for environment-friendly cars, but the first time we saw the Smart ForJeremy, another version of the ForTwo, our jaws dropped. The car has wings! And now our jaws dropped not in awe.

I guess that what happens when Smart taps Jeremy Scott who is well-known for his attention-grabbing line of clothes. He has designed for the likes of Katy Perry, Rihanna, , Kanye West, and Lady Gaga and yes his impossible-not-to-see lines are reflected on the Smart ForJeremy.

The Smart ForTwo is not really being marketed for its practicality nor the driving experience it offers but for the green technology it embraces. It is a very outlandish creation and the brand might just want more attention when they hired the fashion designer.

Smart, sorry but this car is just too weird for our taste.

Do you remember riding a boat in the park with those big swan wings? That is how the ForJeremy looks. This will not float through a love tunnel but is ready to cruise on the road as it takes the form of the 74-horsepower of the Smart ForTwo. It can go as fast at 78 miles an hour using a lithium ion battery pack. It has a range of 78 miles when used in an urban setting.

You might also think of the wings on the shoes of the mythological god Mercury. Before we forget, the wings that have been crafted from fiber glass do light up. Yes, just like the shoes you love when you were a kid.

Just like us, you might already be wondering why someone will put some wings to a car. Scott’s design actually are dominated by wings. According to the designer, it symbolizes freedom, just like how the car tries to free the air of harmful gases.

Now, use your hands to cover the wings and you will see a normal Smart ForTwo with 5-spoke chrome rims, and other shiny elements. The shiny treatment continues to the interior of the car. Be careful and do not touch anything or your fingers might burn from all the chrome you will see.

The car, with wings, will roll out next year. On a limited run (and that is the best thing about it.

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In Focus: 2013 Smart Fortwo ED

October 15th, 2012

The Smart Fortwo, under the umbrella of Daimler, has not made a profit since its birth in 1998. It is still trying to convince consumers to convert into their Smart way of owning and driving a car. The attempt of the company has led to several crashes to a lot of spending. Through the years, electric cars have been making some major strides. The design of the Smart Fortwo cars, for example, is perfect for zig zagging through traffic and parking on tight spaces.

The transition of the American market though to the Smart Fortwo vehicles as forecasted before by experts in Germany. Even young buyers still clamor for vehicles that have more space and carry a good amount of luggage.

The company is currently testing its third generation Electric Drive Smart Fortwo. You cannot see a lot of changes with the exterior but the engine had major revisions. The new Smart Fortwo ride now has a 47-hp cruising output and a max output of around 74 horses compared to the previous generation’s 27 hp and max of 40 hp. The number almost doubled.

The car can accelerate to 60 kilometers an hour in a matter of 4.8 seconds compared to its predecessor that did it in 6.5 seconds.

The new gen Smart Fortwo also dropped the automated transmission that was highly criticized by the press people and consumers. It gets a single-ratio gearbox that smoothly deliver a better accelration in tandem with the electric motor.

The new gen Smart Fortwo ED depends on a 93 lithium ion battery pack made by Li-Tec. The battery is stored under the floor of the vehicle. A single full charge can bring the car up to 90 miles from point A to B. A typical recharging will take an owner around seven hours using a 220 volt outlet with 13 amperes or around six hours when using a plug of 16 amperes. There is no option of a quick charge.

The new vehicle will be formally launched during the auto show in Los Angeles next month. Expect the sticker price to hit the $25,000 mark for the coupe and around $28K for the top down.

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Smart brand outwits social media critic; says it takes 45M pigeon poop to destroy a Smart Car

July 13th, 2012

Social media interactions between brands and consumers can be fun at times. SmartUSA just made a lot of car lovers smile this week as it outsmarted a critic over Twitter. And yes, their answer came with an infographic.

It started when a certain Clayton Hove tweeted that he saw a Smart Car totaled after a bird poop on it. Other brands might have ignored or just shared the laughter, but it was not the case for the makers of the Smart line of cars.

They tweeted back saying that they did the math and it could not have been one bird, but 4.5 million pigeons. That is definitely a brilliant move from a brand protecting its position in the market. They even came with a witty infographic. See that below:


There was really a process that people from SmartUSA went thru before coming up with the answer. They called up farmers, found out how poops of birds weighs, and researched how much pigeons and other birds poop each day. They tossed the information together and bam!

The social media team of Smart also used the opportunity to promote the safety of their vehicle. The critic was definitely caught off guard. The company has a good policy of loving the lovers and just dealing with the haters with some humor about their quirky ride.

The company admits that their cars are not for everyone but there are people out there who have uses for them. They expect more of the mockery in the future but they are confident they can handle them well and use them to their brand’s advantage.

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Review: 2012 Smart ForTwo

April 24th, 2012

2012-Smart-ForTwoWhen you see the shape of the Smart ForTwo on the road, you know it is the ForTwo. You cannot mistake it for another car on the US roads as it is the shortest in the market today fitting the engine and two passengers on a very small frame to have the shortest footprint.

Too bad though that the ForTwo did not hit it big in the United States. Part to blame is its gearbox which somehow has an attitude and its low fuel economy than what you want to have for this tiny a car. If you ask someone who has been driving the ForTwo for its fuel mileage, the average you might get is around 60 to 75 miles per gallon. Actually it is just rated at 38 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg on city streets or a combined rating of 36mpg. It does not guzzle much gas but neither is it more practical than better options like the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio.

The small car from Smart though has some good points. It has more attitude when compared to a ride which is ten times its price or double its size. You can even get a convertible if you want. If you want to go green all the way, you can get an electric version with an equivalent fuel rating of 87 mpg.

You might need to consider its easy parking ability and the very unique look of the vehicle before you can choose it over more economical, practical, and faster cars. The space for two big adults is actually more than sufficient when you get into a Smart ForTwo but the cargo space is just good some bags of grocery.

The city traffic can be handled with a breeze in a ForTwo cruising on comfortable speed. When you hit the highway, you can go 70 mph and not be too scared although you might have the picture of small wheels in your head while praying that you will not topple over. You also feel the bumps and the ride quality is not for those with back pains. The crash test for the the Smart ForTwo are quite impressive considering its size.

The Smart ForTwo is being pushed to the market as something as an “uncar” and this is the only way you can appreciate it, not as a car but just another means of transport.

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Smart cuts of lease to just $99

January 26th, 2012

Smart USA aims to boost sales and plans to achieve their goals by offering a $99 a month lease for their microcar. Previous rates were pegged at $159 thru $169 per month.

The lease for 36 months of $99 a month still requires a down of $999 just like the previous deals.

Mercedes-Benz, which is the parent company of Smart, is doing its best to give the brand a better profile in the market since they took control of the distributions held before by Penske Automotive. Lowering the lease is one way among many to try and give the brand a boost.

Smart launched two television campaigns last fall on cable and big national networks. The company also revamped its website and try to interact with their market thru social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The Penske Group which previously distributed Smart in the US had 75 dealers over the span of three years. Mercedes-Benz only retained only 54 of these dealers who also carries a Mercedes franchise. Thirty three new dealers were added to bring the network up to 87 dealers. They are still planning to six dealerships to the sales force.

The Smart dealers have devoted a space in their showroom for Mercedes to promote Smart vehicles. The dealers who opted for Smart stores may shift to being a Mercedes store and keeping a Smart Corner or they can keep the Smart dealership and they will paid an extra margin to keep it exclusive for the Smart brand.

The sales of Smart dropped by 12% or about 5,208 units. The brand though is expecting to get some boost once the next generation of electric vehicles roll out this coming fall. The Smart ForTwo has an engine supplied by Tesla. For the new vehicle, Mercedes Benz will be providing the powerplant.

The new Smart EV will have an improved range of 100 miles compared to the older sibling which can only go as far as 63 miles. The top speed will also improve a bit to around 75 miles per hour from 60 mph.


Smart revamps current lineup, 4-seater to replace ForTwo

October 24th, 2011

Mercedes-Benz will churn its current lineup ad collaborate closely with Renault to bring the replacement of the small Smart ForTwo to the U.S. soils. Mercedes took over the distribution of the brand last July.

The two-seater vehicle of Smart and the new Twingo of Renault will be sharing a common platform.

The Smart ForTwo will have a replacement by 2014 which will be a result of a collaboration with Renault.

By next year, the ForTwo Electric will be equipped with a lithium ion battery pack sourced from Deutsche Accumotive GmbH which is a Daimlik-Evonik Industries joint venture. The ForTwo Electric will also get a revamped interior.

Smart is expected to roll out a 4-seater by 2015 using the platform that will be implemented on the new ForTwo.

Meanwhile, France based Europcar and Daimler Car2go will be tapping Smart ForTwo vehicles for their car sharing program. Lyon will be joining the car program using twenty Smart commuter cars. Daimler will be designating a 44 square kilometer area where travelers can rent the Smart ForTwo units.

The Lyon Car2Go car sharing program will let members drive the Smart vehicles without requiring them commit to a specific return time and location. The members of the car sharing program will only have to pay depending on the amount of time the car was used. The rentals can be as short as a minute.

The Car2Go program has around 45,000 members sharing around 1,100 vehicles in Canada, the Unite States, and Germany. The on-demand car rental service has been making big strides in cities like Hamburg, Uln, Austin, and Vancouver. Daimler is also getting an extra set of Smart ForTwo for the trial run of Car2Go in San Diego and Amsterdam.

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Smart to unveil Smart Roadster replacement

August 18th, 2011

Smart is the automobile arm of umbrella company Daimler AG. The German company has been producing microcars with plants in Böblingen, Germany and Hambach, France. They are the ones behind the Smart Roadster and the Smart ForTwo. For some time now, the microcar company has been under the radar. However, word is that the microcar company is planning to debut its new look for the model that would replace the latest edition of the Smart Roadster.

The ForSpeed Concept that was debuted at the Geneva Motor Show last March became an inspiration Smart’s new microcar. Some experts say that the new design resembles a white ladybug however, the sleeker design and shadowline trim look promising.

However, the Smart buzz isn’t just about the replacement for the Smart Roadster. According to an inside scoop, 4×4 model that will directly compete with the MINI Countryman will also be unveiled. Now, if the rumors are true, then the 4×4 model will probably by based on the design platform of the Mercedes-Benz’s new B-Class and would be Smart’s largest model to date.

There’s also rumor that Smart might work with Renault-Nissan soon. If the rumors are true and the partnership prevails, then the succeeding models of the ForTwo and the Roadster might carry the Renault Twingo platform. Given that, it might pose some conflicts if the 4×4 will directly compete with MINI Countryman. Nothing’s official yet so we just have to wait to see how things will progress for the Smar 4×4 model and the new Smart Roadster replacement.

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Boxfresh gives Smart Fortwo a makeover

July 15th, 2011

If you have missed he Bugatti Veyron by Hermes, then you might have another chance of grabbing a designer tweaked car by the British label Boxfresh which worked with a Smart Fortwo tweaked by Brabus for the UK roads. The small ride has 101 horsepower or 31 hp more than the ones in the US and was given a finish similar on a grayish brown shade just like the Dakota Gray Mist by Audi.

The mechanicals of this Smart ForTwo are by Brabus but the interiors speaks of Boxfresh all over even on the center gauge. This Smart Fortwo by Boxfresh though is not for sale but is a preview of what we may see as Boxfresh and Smart collaborates to produce something exciting this year.

As you can see in the pictures, the interior deserves the adjective immaculate. The attention to the smallest details went into man hours for sure.

Read more…

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Lorinser rolls out Easybrid conversion for the Smart ForTwo

December 10th, 2010

Lorinser, a company focused on boosting the engine power and tweaking the exterior of OEM vehicles, has recently turned their attention to the Smart Fortwo making it more efficient and giving it some all-electric function through a plug in conversion.

 Lorinser Easybrid

During the Essen Motor Show, Lorinser rolled out the Smart Fortwo car fitted with the Easybrid conversion. The Easybrid is not exclusively designed to be coupled with the Fortwo but practically to small vehicles with rear drum brakes.

The Easybrid setip consists of a regenerative braking technology, a 30kilowatt electric motor, and lithium ion battery pack. The battery pack is conveniently stored under the car or in the space for the spare tire. The Easybrid practically converts a gasoline or diesel engine car into plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Lorinser estimates the Easybrid to propel the car all electric for around 30 kilometers. The driver though can opt to go all electric, on fuel, or combined. The Smart Fortwo is just the first vehicle to be fitted with the Easybrid but in the future cars like the Fiat 500, Renault Twingo, and VW Polo may offer it as an option.

The company is also looking into a scheme where end users can lease their batteries from energy suppliers through a mobile phone platform. This setup will give way to cheaper conversion costs seen at around 5,000 euros. They are also hoping for government incentives to chop the prices more.

The testing of the system will be through middle of next year with the roll out for market consumption after.

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