Simply Smart Baltimore Sun

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car Smart K

Simply Smart

The fuel-efficient Car — all the rage in Europe has a growing fan base in Maryland, but can the vehicle really catch on in the

May 02, 2004 | By Lorraine Mirabella | Mirabella,SUN STAFF

From a warehouse below an overpass in the team at J.K. Technologies is hard to bring to America an to soaring gasoline prices.

5 feet high, 8 feet and gets more than 60 to the gallon on the highway. A fill-up about $11. About 200 across the country have put names on a waiting list for the to pay $20,000 to get one.

The Smart a creation of Mercedes-Benz and Swatch, is all the in Europe, inspiring cult-like The two-seater, first sold in can be spotted nimbly zipping roadways in 30 countries. It is coming to But it is not sold anywhere in the United

That could change as as this summer, when Technologies LLC, an independent importer, expects its first of the two-seater Smart Cars to off a ship in the port of Baltimore and after a spin through shop — into eager hands.

They’re special machines, said Joyeusaz, J.K.’s chief They’re larger than you on the inside. They’re extremely They get 63 miles to the gallon, 52, city. They can fit two to a parking They’re fun. They’re peppy. They’re the perfect car.

Company President and engineer Jonathan Weisheit, a Formula V race car driver who refers to design engineers at as geniuses, sums up the role of It’s right for the world

Joyeusaz and Weisheit, along a team of J.K. researchers, spent nearly four tweaking the Smart Car to meet safety and environmental standards, conducting crash tests. The expects to get final approval a month to import the Smart the original two-seater, including the Passion hardtop and the Pulse

J.K. thinks that it can about 1,000 cars a to start, and plans to offer from a showroom in an as-yet spot in Baltimore.

SUVs are traveling vehicles, but when talking about going to and work and sitting in traffic, Weisheit, why do you need 10 to 15 miles per to get to work?

Steve Roseman, a electric bicycle distributor who an electric car up and down his hilly San neighborhood, agrees. He’s a preliminary order for a blue, Smart.

I feel like we’re a child, said Roseman. is the coolest car that’s ever created.

If I were towing a or had to haul around lumber, wouldn’t be my choice. But Smart take care of 98 percent of my and the other 2 percent of the time ask a neighbor to borrow the truck.

Simeone, a Charles Village who is a freelance radio host of World of Opera and of foreign cable television show first saw the Smart car several ago while vacationing with her at a French chateau.

car Smart K

They the chateau owner’s Smart Car at his and fell in love. She has since letters to DaimlerChrysler and surfed the Web in in hopes of landing a Smart. she heard about J.K. in her own back yard, she jumped at the to get on the list. She’s No. 53.

I wish I were No. 1, said It’s a beautiful, little, practical, safe vehicle because it’s a Mercedes cage. And I am not a person who gets about cars. I’m a for whom a car has four wheels and it

Most of J.K.’s Smart heard about the importer by of mouth or through the Internet. Roseman and Simeone, they’re not to wait for DaimlerChrysler AG, through its Car Group, to start exporting the

The automaker doesn’t plan to the brand in the United States 2006, and then it will launch a Smart-inspired, small the Formore.

Sometime after that, expects to offer a second-generation of the Smart Fortwo designed to U.S. standards. The company to sell about 30,000 per year, and a limited volume of the

It is a niche product, but we feel confident there is interest, fanaticism in this vehicle, Scott Keogh, general of Smart USA.

You will see the and the roadster. They will be with America in mind. The has such an iconic status, so the will maintain the basic and basic concept.

DaimlerChrysler’s of easing into the U.S. with a small SUV signals its But David E. Cole, chairman of the for Automotive Research, a nonprofit in Ann Arbor, Mich. said the of BMW’s Mini Cooper that buyers exist.

We’ve been surprised the popularity of the Mini, a very BMW, Cole said. were reservations about it would mesh with a market that has a predisposition for vehicles. We tend to have families, longer trips and more stuff.

car Smart K
car Smart K
car Smart K
car Smart K


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