Auto China 2008: smart fortwo to be launched in China in mid 2009

Auto China 2008: smart fortwo to be launched in China in mid 2009
April 2008
The smart fortwo will also be available to Chinese customers from mid 2009. This was announced by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the Auto China Beijing 2008 (22 - 28 April 2008). This means that smart is now set to open up another major automobile market, following the successful launch in the USA. Daimler AG expects additional sales potential for the brand in China as the small car is practically tailor-made for the increasing number of small car customers on the Chinese market: The smart fortwo combines modern technology, premium quality and safety, exemplary low fuel consumption and corresponding low CO2 emissions with a unique space concept that offers advantages in the dense traffic of China’s numerous large cities.
At the Auto ChinaDr. Dieter Zetsche said: "In China, too, we are seeing growing customer interest in our high-quality and economical smart fortwo. I am sure that many lifestyle-oriented customers in China's cities will soon come to love its unique concept. For in addition to its outstanding safety equipment and the typical smart design, the fortwo naturally also boasts top quality and reliability." The agile two-seater is currently available in 37 countries. Since the intro-duction of the first model generation in 1998 more than 870,000 smart fortwos have been delivered to customers.
smart is launching the fortwo - the "original" smart - on the Chinese growth market
Chinais the world's fastest-growing automobile market and is now the second largest vehicle market: Seven million new driving licences are issued each year in the People's Republic. Another Chinese city attains the size of New Yorkevery ten months. Market observers are currently registering strong growth of the micro car and small car segment in China. These are the best prerequisites for an innovative, low-consumption vehicle like the smart fortwo that is designed for urban lifestyles. In China, too, environmental awareness is greatly increasing. Furthermore, Chinese customers don’t regard their car as a merely functional means of transport. Rather, they increasingly see their cars as a means of expressing their personality. Fashion-conscious young people in particular seek an agile, trendy vehicle for their flexible urban lifestyle in order to set themselves apart from others.
Against the background of these developments Mercedes-Benz Cars decided to launch the "original" two-seater smart fortwo on the Chinese market in mid 2009. The smart fortwo meets the same high standards which apply to larger vehicles from Mercedes-Benz cars. These include top quality and reliability, outstanding safety and economical and environmentally friendly driving combined with comfort and agility. Moreover, the "original" is loved first and foremost for its innovative design with which the brand trod a new, different path and achieved worldwide cult status for the fortwo.
As one of the youngest car makes on the market, smart stands for innovation, functionality and joie de vivre. smart especially appeals to customers who are interested in new, clever and trend-setting solutions in the automotive sector. Drivers of smart cars can be categorized more in terms of their attitude than their age, profession or gender. smart drivers are open-minded, self-aware individuals who question the status quo. They opt for the smart fortwo because it is something special and perhaps also because it sets them apart from the masses. But certainly because it is quite simply fun to drive.
The smart fortwo - a 10-year success story
At the beginning of the 1990s, research showed that each car journey carried an average of only 1.2 people. Anyone who ventures a look into other cars while stuck at traffic lights in rush-hour traffic will be able to confirm this. And that's not all: in cities, cars are driven for fewer than 30 kilometres per day. 90 percent of the time, a car is parked somewhere. As well as this, half the driving time is actually spent circling around looking for a parking space. This is why there was a clear need for a car designed specifically for use in urban areas; a car that uses far less road space and is less than three metres long.
As early as 1972 the concept for an ultra-compact car with a length of two and a half metres was developed by Mercedes-Benz. However, technical implementation was not possible at that time due to an inability to meet the company's strict safety standards.
In 1989 Nicolas G. Hayek, the inventor of the Swatch watch, announced plans to launch a small city car on the market. Hayek sought an experienced partner for the quick and successful realisation of the project. The joint venture that was established in 1994 combined the creative power of Swatch with Mercedes-Benz’s vast experience in building cars. The cooperation resulted in a unique vehicle concept and a new automobile brand: smart.
Three years after work developing the vehicle began in 1994, the smart fortwo made its world debut at the International Motor Show in Frankfurtin 1997. Production began in July 1998 in a new plant in Hambach, France. The following October saw the new car being sold for the first time in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spainand Switzerland). In the same year, smart became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz AG (now Daimler AG).
Product information to the smart fortwo variants available in Europe
The design: Sporty yet elegant
As early as 2002, the smart fortwo was included in the permanent collection at New York’s Museumof Modern Art - the only vehicle there that is still produced today. The developers of the second generation smart fortwo also succeeded – in a vehicle measuring a mere 2.70 metres in length - in creating a deceptively spacious interior offering maximum safety and comfort. The smart fortwo conveys innovation, functionality and joie de vivre.
Clarity and modernity characterise the shape. The smart fortwo has a beefy, athletic appearance. This impression is emphasized by the additional air intake, the contrasting black bottom section of the bumper and the striking handle of the tailgate. The horizontal door handle cleverly takes up the shoulder line just below the window edge. It runs into the front wing and the projection headlights that are unique in this vehicle class. These lend the smart fortwo a high-tech and grown-up face. In addition, the indicators are integrated in the headlights. The rear window is slightly slanted, giving the smart fortwo a sporty and elegant look. The rear view of the smart fortwo is adorned by four rear lights. The rear window reaches across almost the whole width of the vehicle and is framed by two black high-gloss panels.
Unique in the small car segment is the ultra-light yet high-strength poly-carbonate panoramic roof. Another unique feature worldwide is the soft top of the cabrio version: The electric soft top is fully automatic and can be infinitely adjusted to any position. The smart fortwo does not have to be stationary for the soft top to be opened or closed - this can be done at any speed. The rear part of the soft top can also be opened to the final position and closed again at the touch of a button. This is a prime example of the outstanding comfort offered by this small, open two-seater vehicle. All that remains for the full cabrio experience is to remove the side roof bars. These can be taken out in next to no time and stowed in a special compartment in the tailgate.
Exemplary active and passive safety: tridion safety cell, full-size airbags, esp and abs as standard
The smart fortwo is a real trendsetter in terms of safety equipment in small cars. The tridion safety cell protects its occupants like the hard shell around a nut. It is additionally reinforced at strategically important points with high-strength steel, covering more than 50 per cent of the cell in all. The tridion safety cell’s longitudinal and transverse members activate the crumple zone of the other vehicle involved in the accident and distribute the impact energy evenly over the car’s body. And in case of a collision, the wheels also take on the function of crumple zones. When this happens, the front wheels are supported by the side members. This means that the smart fortwo complies with the requirements of EuroNCAP and the UScrash regulations. It also meets the extremely strict standards of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Every smart comes with full-size airbags for driver and passenger as standard. The passenger airbag is located at the top of the instrument panel, to enable it to also intercept passengers who are not perfectly in position in the car. If a child seat has been fitted, the passenger airbag can be deactivated with the ignition key. Head/thorax side airbags are optionally available. These protect both the head and the upper body. Belt tensioners and belt-force limiters are standard features in the smart.
Thanks to the sandwich-type construction of the tridion safety cell, the passengers are usually somewhat above the direct danger zone in the event of a side impact, resulting in better protection than in most other small cars. All interior trims have been optimised to prevent injuries to occupants.
esp also comes as standard in the smart fortwo. This is not even available as an optional extra in many micro cars. esp also includes an integrated hill start assist function. This prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards as it moves off on an uphill slope.
Another feature of the esp package is the anti-lock braking system (abs), which prevents the wheels from locking during emergency braking. This reduces the braking distance and ensures that the smart remains steerable. A hydraulic brake assist function also comes as standard. It automatically triggers controlled emergency braking as soon as the electronics register that the driver has pressed the brake pedal quickly, but not firmly enough.
The interior: More space than you would ever believe
An outstanding aspect of the smart fortwo is its feeling of spaciousness, comparable with that of a standard-size saloon. Customers getting behind the wheel for the first time never fail to be surprised at how easy it is to get in and out of the car and just how spacious the smart fortwo is inside. The passenger seat is positioned further back than the driver’s seat, to give the passengers optimum shoulder room.
The safety seats with integral seat belts are well contoured and offer pleasant lateral support. The upholstery is of high quality. Leather trim is available as an option. Even longer objects can be easily transported: A lever on the inside of the passenger seat both reclines the backrest and enables it to be folded forward to a horizontal position.
The instrument panel runs straight and is framed by two bows on the left- and right-hand sides that represent a visual continuation of the structure of the tridion safety cell and support the upper and lower wings of the instrument panel. The lower wing also serves as a knee pad in the event of a crash. The suspended arrangement of the instrument panel conveys lightness and makes the interior of the new smart fortwo wholly unique. Elements such as the externally mounted air vents and the rev counter and clock on the dashboard already helped to give the original smart fortwo a distinctive touch.
The driver can see the centrally positioned speedometer and a large display through the two-spoke or sporty three-spoke steering wheel. The control unit for heating, air conditioning and ventilation has a central, ergonomic position on the centre console and is framed by two further air vents.
The large audio unit is located below the heating and air conditioning controls. Customers can choose between a standard CD radio or one with a CD changer for six CDs. Large buttons and a clear layout make operation child's play. In addition, a sound system with a subwoofer and MP3 connection is available.
Given its compact outer dimensions, it is amazing how much fits in the luggage compartment of the smart fortwo. 220 litres are more than enough for everyday shopping. By filling the available space right up to the roof, the luggage capacity can be increased to a princely 340 litres.
The level loading space is particularly user-friendly. The twin-section tailgate is really practical in tight parking spaces. The folding rear door can also be used as a surface to put things on. The bottom section of the tailgate incorporates additional stowage space which is accessible via a lid.
Fuel consumption of less than five litres per 100 kilometres
State-of-the-art compact three-cylinder petrol engines with a capacity of 999 cc are installed at the rear of the new smart fortwo. In Western Europecustomers can currently choose from two naturally aspirated engine versions delivering 45 or 52 kW (61/71 bhp) respectively, and a turbo engine rated at 62 kW (84 bhp). A three cylinder turbo engine is the heart of the smart fortwo BRABUS rated at 72 kW (bhp).
In addition, a diesel variant is available - the smart fortwo cdi - which is the world champion in low CO2 emissions. The smart fortwo cdi has a power output
of 33 kW (45 bhp). This corresponds to emissions of just 88 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre and consumption (in accordance with NEDC) of 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres.
In order to further reduce CO2 emissions with petrol engines as well, smart also offers the smart fortwo mhd micro hybrid drive in Europe. This model features an intelligent start/stop system which has fuel consumption of only 4.3 litres per 100 kilometres (CO2 emissions: 103g per km) at a power output of 52 kW / 71 bhp. The smart fortwo ed with "electric drive" is even totally emission-free. 100 smart fortwo ed models are currently being trialled in a pilot project in London.
The engine of the smart fortwo is mounted transversally in front of the rear axle, and is slanted at an angle of 45 degrees towards the rear. Gas exchange is controlled by four valves per combustion chamber. The camshafts are driven via a maintenance-free chain. Because the masses being moved are low, there is no need for a balancer shaft - which would reduce the output of the engine. However, in the turbo version there is a torsional vibration damper on the crankshaft. The maximum charge pressure is 0.5 bar.
Gear-changing without the need for a clutch
The smart fortwo is fitted with an automated five-speed transmission (softip) as a standard feature. This means there is no clutch pedal, as this task is performed by an electric motor. To shift up a gear, the shift lever on the centre console merely requires a brief tap forwards, while pulling it back shifts down a gear. Optionally, gears can be changed using steering-wheel-mounted gear shift paddles (standard at the pulse version).
The passion version features the softouch automatic gear programme, which enables the driver to switch from manual gear shifting (softip) to automatic by pressing a button on the gear knob. A kickdown function allows the driver to use the accelerator pedal to immediately shift down two gears at once, in both manual and automatic mode. Incorrect gear changing and over-revving are ruled out, because the electronics will only accept logical gear changes.
The comprehensive standard equipment of the smart fortwo (Western Europe):
- H7 projection headlights
- Third brake light
- White side indicators
Functional/electrical equipment
- Automated manual five-speed transmission
- Instrument cluster with multifunctional display
- Digital gear display with gear recommendation
- Exterior temperature indicator with frost warning
- Indicators with lanechanger function
- Windscreen wipers with interval wiping and automatic wipe/wash function.
- Heated rear window
- Tank cap integrated in the central locking system
- 12 volt socket on centre console
- Central locking with radio remote control and immobiliser
- Diesel particulate filter (open system, closed system from 2nd half year 2008)
- Electric soft top (smart fortwo cabrio)
- Passenger seat can be fully folded forwards (single hand operation)
- Storage compartment on passenger side, next to the steering wheel and
in the doors
- Mirror in passenger’s visor
- tridion safety cell
- Crash-absorbing elements at the front and rear
- Crash sensor to activate hazard warning lights
- Full-size driver and passenger airbag
- Safety seats with integral seat belts
- Belt tensioners and belt force limiters
- Drive lock - automatic door locking when the vehicle is in motion
- esp
- abs with electronic brake force distribution
- Hydraulic brake assist 
Three equipment variants (Western Europe)
The new smart fortwo also features the two-colour concept typical of smart. In addition to the tridion safety cell that is available in black or silver, bodypanels are available in six colours. The basic colours are black, yellow and white. The metallic colours blue, red and silver are available subject to an additional charge.
The pure equipment variant is the entry-level variant. It comes with everything that makes a smart a smart. The exterior of the pure is characterized by a black grooved plastic roof and steel rims. It comes with a black tridion safety cell.
The lower part of the instrument panel (knee pad) and the door trim are made of grained black plastic. The two-spoke steering wheel is a further feature of the pure, in the interior the seats are equipped in restrained grey.
pulse equipment line: The name stands for sportiness. The pulse also features a black tridion safety cell; however, this is optionally available in silver. Its six-spoke alloy wheels with wide tyres (175/55 R 15 at front, 195/50 R 15 at rear) give it a beefy appearance.
The interior of the pulse features an upholstery colour exclusively available for the pulse and matching fabric elements for instrument panel, knee pads and door trim which create a pleasant atmosphere. A glance upwards shows the sky through a new transparent roof made of polycarbonate. A black, infinitely adjustable blind provides sun protection.
The sporty character is emphasized by the rev counter and clock and a three-spoke leather steering wheel including steering wheel gearshift. Further standard features include electric windows, front fog lights and an additional storage compartment in the tailgate.
passion equipment line: The elegant and extensively equipped passion can always be identified by its silver tridion cell. The door mirrors and radiator grille are also painted silver. Further features include a panoramic roof made of polycarbonate and twelve-spoke alloy wheels (front tyres 155/65 R 15, rear tyres 175/60 R 15).
Like the pulse, the fabric elements on the instrument panel, knee pad and door trim match the colour of the upholstery. Three different colours with a special fabric design are available.
Further standard equipment includes air conditioning with temperature control, a leather steering wheel, the automatic gear programme softouch and the panoramic glass roof made of polycarbonate. Like the pulse, the passion features electric windows and an additional compartment in the tailgate, and also a luggage compartment cover including a net bag.

Press Contact

  • Global Business Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars Plants Bremen, East London, Tuscaloosa
  • Tel: +49 176 30997918



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