Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Get smart

Evelin just e-mailed me this story from The Boston Globe: Mercedes is trying to boost U.S. awareness of its smart cars by using them as pace cars for the Boston Marathon.
Over the next week, a fleet of 13 European smart cars will blitz Boston, appearing at Red Sox and Celtics games, cruising city streets, and leading a pack of more than 20,000 runners competing in Monday's marathon.
The cars made their U.S. debut in November at the New York City Marathon. smart won't actually sell cars in the States until 2006, and even then the smart fortwo coupé won't be on offer; instead, the plan is to launch in the U.S. with the forfour.

I have been wanting a smart for several years now. I was seeing a lot of them in 2002, the last time I was in Munich, and I see smarts (well, pictures at least) at work because a lot of European radio stations have them tricked out to use as city cars, both for visibility at events and for outside broadcasting.

I know they're a bit small for U.S. roadways clogged with monstrosities like the H2 (see the Globe graphic), but they are cute, super fuel-efficient, and just plain fun.

Sadly, when Evelin and I went to Scotland (also in 2002), Arnold Clark in Edinburgh didn't rent out any smarts, so we had to make do with a Daewoo Matiz, which was roomier than expected, but a bit harrowing to drive on the M9.

[ADDENDUM: smart may not be planning to offer the fortwo coupé in the U.S., but it will offer it in Canada starting in autumn 2005. I wonder how complicated it is to buy a car in Canada and then bring it back to the States ...]

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