In Reply to: Re: Request for a list of your favorite stops posted by Nicole Hamilton on August 18, 2000 at 17:50:00:
It is built since about 2 years by DaimlerChrysler / Mercedes-Benz in a plant in France.
Originally it has been developed by Mercedes-Benz and the Swiss watch-manufacturer "Swatch" (Nicolas Hayek). One year before it was launched, Hayek realized that he would never earn money with this project, so he stopped his "Smart activities".
The Smart officially is no Mercedes-Benz, and it is sold at so called Smart Centers. Since 2000 a convertible and a diesel engine (CDI) are offered, and with rising fuel-prices sales are getting better and better.
The 3-cylinder turbo-engines have up to 55hp. The transmission is sequential and semiautomatic with 6 gears. The maximum speed is governed at about 80mph.
The enterior and exterior-design is very colourfull. At the exterior most of the parts are plastic (1 front-, 1 rear-part and the doors). Theses so-called body-panels can be switched by the smart centers within about one hour, so you can change the colour of your car just as easy as other car owners change their carīs wheels.
Concerning crash safety: The smart is equipped with a reinforced passenger-cabin, ABS, a stabilty system and Airbags. The crash test performance is outstanding in the European compact-class, and is very close to the performace of the VW Golf/Jetta.