The not-so-smart car

Post date: Jun 03, 2012 5:40:16 AM

Noel leant Maria The Dog and Lemon car buyers guide to help her with her car purchase. You won't be surprised to har that reading the dog and lemon guide has been a weekend pastime. Apart from learning that the author is someone who would fit well in our family being a person of strong opinion and feeling quite entitled to share them! Anyway in the Dog and Lemon guide is the wonderful tale of the Smart car which I will share because I think it is so ludicrous it must be true!

The Swatch watch company thought it would be a good idea to make a small car - they were thinking innovative, trendy, fun and practical a bit like their watches. Not being car makers they knew they needed to team up with a car producer. They first approached Volkswagen but the idea didn't go far so they went to Mercedes and the Smart car was conceived. Smart stands for S(watch) M(ercedes)Art.

Our opinionated friend notes that Mercedes has a disastrous history with its small car production and cheap is not a word in the Mercedes glossary. Took a lot of time and the "debt growth that would frighten God" before Swatch bailed leaving Mercedes to follow through on their own.

Once they were eventually produced they became quite popular in Europe. Tony and I saw our first ones in Paris in 2002 where even parking like the French do(stopping where you want to be and getting out leaving car whereever you were) the Smart cars looked amazingly practical. However they haven't sold enough to cover the research and development costs let alone make a dent in the debts. Our friend says "the Smarts problems are a pity because when they are working they are not bad cars"

This is a lot greater praise than any of his other Mercedes comments which include "avoid like the plague" or "It's OK but don't say we didn't warn you"

Next time you see a Smart car think Swatch!