Thu, 25 Sep 2003

Introducing Smart forfour, the car for smart drivers

The word "smart" is always associated with cleverness or brilliance. But in the automotive world, "smart" may have acquired a new meaning.

Smart is a two-seater, small car. A brand of the DaimlerChrysler company, the Smart has performed successfully in the European market since last year.

The car can be seen on main roads in its country of origin, Germany.

During the 60th International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, Daimler unveiled the Smart forfour to the public for the first time.

The Smart forfour is dubbed as the first small car that combines functionality and the emotional appeal of a young car brand. The design is so hip that fits in with youth demands for a car that is ideally suited to a metropolitan lifestyle.

The Smart, with which Indonesians have yet to become familiar, is characterized by its four individual, vertically mounted headlamps, positioned at an angle to each other above the air inlet.

Just like the previous editions of the Smart city coupe, cabrio, roadster and roadster coupe, the Smart forfour will also be available in different designs and colors.

Despite its compact exterior dimensions -- the Smart forfour is only 3,752 centimeters (cm) in length while its wheelbase is only 2,500 cm -- the vehicle's interior has a feeling of spaciousness.

The Smart forfour will be available in five engine types: three petrol engines of 1.1 liters, 1.3 liters and 1.5 liters, and two diesel engines of 1.5 liters, with 68 horsepower (hp) and 95 hp respectively.

The new petrol engine is the result of cooperation between DaimlerChrysler and its Japanese partner Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is developing the New Compact Car which will use the DaimlerChrysler electric and electronics platform. In the meantime, the Japanese carmaker has unveiled its "i" concept car, which is claimed to be a totally new generation of small car.

In Smart, safety is also a standard requirement. Therefore the car is equipped with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) which uses selective brake intervention to stabilize the vehicle.

The car is also equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution, integrated into the ESP.

As security is always a major consideration, the Smart forfour also has three-point seatbelts for its four passengers. The car also has full-size airbags and side airbags.

The Smart forfour will be available on European roads next April at a price range starting from 12,990 euros.

As for the right-hand version of the Smart forfour, it will be available in the European market around September 2004.

PT DaimlerChrysler Distribution Indonesia has yet to say when the car will enter the local market.

"We must await the right-hand-drive version first, then we can reveal the specification of the vehicle as well as the price," said the company's deputy director for marketing, planning and communications, Yuniadi H. Hartono.

With increasing market potential for cars with engine capacities of less than 1.5 liters -- with around 39,000 units last year compared to this year's 27,000 as of August -- DaimlerChrysler hopes to sell 1,000 to 1,500 Smart forfours per year once it is available here.

Since the Smart forfour design is trendy and desirable to the young at heart, the targeted market is those who are less than 35 years old: young professionals, mostly working women and students -- the smart generation, in fact. -- Primastuti Handayani