Bells, whistles & gas sippers

Bells, whistles & gas sippers

There are 41 comments on the The Indianapolis Star story from Dec 28, 2007, titled Bells, whistles & gas sippers. In it, The Indianapolis Star reports that:

With auto sales expected to be flat nationally in 2008, automakers will continue to roll out incentives to keep sales volumes from going into idle.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Indianapolis Star.

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RonGaus

Saint Louis, MO

#1 Dec 28, 2007
Smart cars will be the surprise for 2008. Though these new smart cars will be sold in America in mass this year, their older brother has been with us about 21 months. In 2003, an auto converter became frustrated by Mercedes' refusal to bring the smart car to the US since 1998. He went to the Department of Transportation and EPA and asked for permission to change the European models to meet US safety and emissions standards. After three years of work, he was granted that approval and began selling the Euro Design smart cars in April, 2006. Just two months later, Mercedes announced that they had changed their minds and would introduce an Americanized smart car in 2008. They will be distributed through Penske Automotive Group, not Mercedes. The 1000 converted models are now almost all on the streets across the country, but their selling prices are significantly higher than the 2008 models. Though the entry level smarts will be offered in 2008 at $11,590, the currently available higher end converted smarts are at $26,900. The high cost of conversion, as well as the shipping and import costs from Europe forced this higher price.

Here's the key... Despite these much higher prices, the owners of these cars have all shared their common feedback... there is no car, at any price, that will attract the positive attention from passers-by, than the smart car. It is not the miles/gallon. It is certainly not the price. It is the unique style and design, so different from any car on the road, that makes this car magical. As magical as the only prior car in history to bring these smiles to this country... the fifties Beetle. The new ones in 2008 will share this attraction with their older, but littler brother. Converted smarts are 8'-3". The new ones are 7" longer. Current ones have Mercedes engines. New ones have Mitsubishi's and are more powerful. The looks, however, will cause the same smiles. Get ready for this phenomenon, America. When you see one in person, you'll understand. There is no way to understand it until then. Over 34,000 folks have put down $99 to get in line for the new smarts. To add your name to the list, go to their website at www.smartUSA.com . Get ready to smile. Smart cars will change America, one smile at a time. We've watched it happen on a smaller scale for 21 months.

Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com
another opinion

Arcanum, OH

#2 Dec 28, 2007
ok....too much time on your hands this morning, conspiracy theorist?
Southsider

Indianapolis, IN

#3 Dec 28, 2007
The show really seems to have improved over the last couple years !!! Great Sow !!!

Since: Dec 06

United States

#4 Dec 28, 2007
Smart cars won't do well here because of the simple fact that Americans are getting fatter everyday. How are a bunch of fatties supposed to fit into those little things?
INDYGIRL

Bridgeport, WV

#5 Dec 28, 2007
I drove one of the Smart Cars last summer when they were at the Art Museum-- what a hoot! The lease on my Vibe is up in March and I'm thinking about a Smart! It's 4.2 miles from my driveway to the parking garage downtown and I'm thinking this is the way to go. Not real happy with the mileage on the Vibe. All wheel drive sucks.
Anon

United States

#6 Dec 28, 2007
Smart Car:
Anyone know what the crash test results are on this critter against, let's say an SUV?...Hummer?...Semi?

I would speculate about the same as a motorcycle..
INDYGIRL

Bridgeport, WV

#7 Dec 28, 2007
Anon wrote:
Smart Car:
Anyone know what the crash test results are on this critter against, let's say an SUV?...Hummer?...Semi?
I would speculate about the same as a motorcycle..
Actually, I saw a video about this, and the entire shape of the vehicle is superstructure; and it did quite well getting hit headon by a big Mercedes.(like the one Princes Di was in). I don't think I would like to do a lot of interstate driving in this car, but to get around town it would be great. Better than a motorcycle.
jej

United States

#8 Dec 28, 2007
Very disappointed in the auto and truck manufacturers. I was interested in seeing new eco-diesel appplications and nothing was really there. MB talked about the 320 and the same engine available in some Jeep models but not base models. Only the larger high end stuff and not the Wrangler or Liberty. Also the VW Tiguan not introduced and it is all over Europe and other markets. Toyotas are available in diesel in other markets but not here and that is wrong. These newer diesels with much better mileage available everywhere but here like the US is being discriminated against. Even the Mini Clubman available with TDI but not here! Back to the motorcycle!
jej

United States

#9 Dec 28, 2007
INDYGIRL wrote:
I drove one of the Smart Cars last summer when they were at the Art Museum-- what a hoot! The lease on my Vibe is up in March and I'm thinking about a Smart! It's 4.2 miles from my driveway to the parking garage downtown and I'm thinking this is the way to go. Not real happy with the mileage on the Vibe. All wheel drive sucks.
Try bicycle if only 4.2 miles. Agree with the AWD. Indy weather does not require as in other parts of the country. On second Murano for wife and first was awd but newer only fwd and 2 mpg to the positive.
Carmel Res

Indianapolis, IN

#10 Dec 28, 2007
INDYGIRL wrote:
I drove one of the Smart Cars last summer when they were at the Art Museum-- what a hoot! The lease on my Vibe is up in March and I'm thinking about a Smart! It's 4.2 miles from my driveway to the parking garage downtown and I'm thinking this is the way to go. Not real happy with the mileage on the Vibe. All wheel drive sucks.
So did my wife and I. It was a blast! Our commute from Carmel to downtown would be a bit much in one of those I'm afraid though. Very cool little car!
Old Guy

Noblesville, IN

#11 Dec 28, 2007
Wonder what the repair bill will be when it gets hit by a pickup truck. We don't need $12K Smart cars, we need dependable public transportation. It saves on parking, insurance, fuel, and time. Used to be a bus came by every 15 minutes, now it's once a day and who knows when?
Trent Lotts lovechile

Indianapolis, IN

#12 Dec 28, 2007
Anon wrote:
Smart Car:
Anyone know what the crash test results are on this critter against, let's say an SUV?...Hummer?...Semi?
I would speculate about the same as a motorcycle..
Therefore, logically, you should drive an M-1 Abrams tank, bubba. Your safety is priceless, you know, so getting three GPM (gallons per mile) shouldn't be a problem for you. And those treads will surely come in handy once or twice a year when we get a big snowstorm. But above all, you'll be BOSS of the road. Even the baddest Peterbilt you'd ever see won't dare get anywhere near you, don't matter what kinda confederate flags or Yosemite Sam mudflaps it has. But be sure and fly a flag from your hog, just to show you care.

Shew. Hummer and Dummer. Yeeahhh buddy, your smart money is going for Humvees and supercharged pickups right now. Real smart. Don't fergit the words of the pea-brained beady-eyed Senator:

"After all, this is still America.... We shouldn't have the federal government saying you are going to drive the purple people eater here.

When I was over (in Europe), I saw these little cars. I saw people pick them up and sit them over in the parking space."

- Trent Lott, Good Ol' Senator/Mississip', 2002
hello

South Bend, IN

#13 Dec 28, 2007
How much does admission to this event cost?
Peter

Indianapolis, IN

#14 Dec 28, 2007
Smart cars are cool to look at, but I don't think they will be successful in the US because their gas mileage is only slightly better than larger, cheaper cars already available. Their combined city/hwy mileage is 40mpg, compared to 37mpg for the Toyota Yaris. Which costs less and holds more.

In Europe, where there are tiny parking spots in older cities, the fact that these cars are so small is an advantage in and of itself; this is not particularly and advantage here (even though I probably could fit four of them in my garage).

They are apparently extremely safe, however - what looks like a metal accent around the car is actually a very strong safety cage.

But still, the mileage advantage isn't good enough to make up for the disadvantages, IMO. If they got 80 mpg, though, I think the calculus would change.
Blue and Gold

Indianapolis, IN

#15 Dec 28, 2007
Old Guy wrote:
Wonder what the repair bill will be when it gets hit by a pickup truck. We don't need $12K Smart cars, we need dependable public transportation. It saves on parking, insurance, fuel, and time. Used to be a bus came by every 15 minutes, now it's once a day and who knows when?
Agreed!
Cute Euro-cars will not save lives, oil consumption, or the economy. While they may be useful as a short-distance urban commuter --there is no way I drive one of these toys on an American freeway. As has been stated in another post: ride bikes whenever possible, and most importantly, get a true and effective public mass transit system in place. Lamentably, Americans just don't seem as forward thinking as we once were 100 years ago or more.
Cost

United States

#18 Dec 28, 2007
hello wrote:
How much does admission to this event cost?
According to their website: www.indyautoshow.com , it's $7 for adults; kids 12 & under free.

“Release the mind”

Since: Oct 07

Indy

#22 Dec 28, 2007
Trent Lotts lovechile wrote:
<quoted text>
Therefore, logically, you should drive an M-1 Abrams tank, bubba. Your safety is priceless, you know, so getting three GPM (gallons per mile) shouldn't be a problem for you. And those treads will surely come in handy once or twice a year when we get a big snowstorm. But above all, you'll be BOSS of the road. Even the baddest Peterbilt you'd ever see won't dare get anywhere near you, don't matter what kinda confederate flags or Yosemite Sam mudflaps it has. But be sure and fly a flag from your hog, just to show you care.
Shew. Hummer and Dummer. Yeeahhh buddy, your smart money is going for Humvees and supercharged pickups right now. Real smart. Don't fergit the words of the pea-brained beady-eyed Senator:
"After all, this is still America.... We shouldn't have the federal government saying you are going to drive the purple people eater here.
When I was over (in Europe), I saw these little cars. I saw people pick them up and sit them over in the parking space."
- Trent Lott, Good Ol' Senator/Mississip', 2002
Well, for safety, bigger is usually better. It didn't seem the original poster was advocating driving the bigger vehicles, but how is this small of a car going to stand up to getting hit by the bigger vehicles.

Just like the recent crash on I-70. It was stated that it was a small car that got crushed between the truck and the semi. Would there have been survivors in a larger car?

Around town the smart car seems like a good idea, but I wouldn't take it out on a long trip where it's competing against all the larger vehicles at high speeds.
INDYGIRL

Bridgeport, WV

#23 Dec 28, 2007
Hey Old Guy and Blue and Gold - The body parts are easily exchanged and you can do it yourself. (you can even change the color of the car if you want to) The engine is also easy to work on.
hmmm

Indianapolis, IN

#24 Dec 28, 2007
Just for argument's sake, when is the last time that you saw a bike rack ANYWHERE other than a school, much less and Indy motorist who didn't curse at the cyclist pedaling in the right hand lane slowing down traffic.
Reality

Indianapolis, IN

#25 Dec 28, 2007
INDYGIRL wrote:
<quoted text>
Actually, I saw a video about this, and the entire shape of the vehicle is superstructure; and it did quite well getting hit headon by a big Mercedes.(like the one Princes Di was in). I don't think I would like to do a lot of interstate driving in this car, but to get around town it would be great. Better than a motorcycle.
HA-HA-HA!!! Let's set the bar high!!!

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