Smart's nose-snubbing For-Us concept flops in Detroit
Daimler's little Smart unit has been producing diminutive 3-cylinder and now electric cars for markets around the world. So far, they've met with limited success in North America. The term “Smart car” in our vernacular has become equivalent to the real estate term “cozy.” It means it's tiny, uncomfortable, and overpriced.
Smart, apparently angered that it can't sell cars in the U.S., has decided that it's obviously not their fault – it's the fault of Americans and our love of pickup trucks. Obviously, if we were more enlightened, we'd all be clamoring to have a Smart in our driveway. Right?
Enter the For-Us concept. It rolled out at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this week. Most of the automotive press either ignored the tiny car (err.. truck) or pretended it was a serious concept, maybe feeling sorry for the company's situation.
Here's the giveaway that this concept is just a joke meant to give Americans a rude gesture involving only one finger:
- It was billed as a “recast” of the standard pickup truck.
- It was introduced at the press conference by comedian Jon Lovitz.
- It is said to “build on the grand tradition of Americana haulers.”
Need more? That should be enough to convince that this is just a concept created by the smoldering resentment of engineering geeks who weren't able to make it into the big leagues.
The For-Us includes a cargo area of about 3 feet square with a powered tailgate. You can't make this up, folks. Three feet square. Powered tailgate. Smart, of course, shows off how this is ample space to carry their made-for-the-occasion “smart bikes” (see photo) and plenty of other handy things you'd want to haul around. Like, you know, dirt and trees and bricks and stuff. Like in those Ford and Chevy commercials.
The massively powerful 55kW motor (73.7 horsepower) would be capable of pulling a full bed of cargo plus the average boat or construction machine on a trailer. With power to spare for climbing the mountain and doing all of the other stuff you see trucks in commercials doing. Really.
Like a rock: it only rolls downhill! Lock a rock: it gathers moss on its north siiide.
Daimler, for their part, has made it clear that this is only a concept and will never see the light of market reality. Probably a good thing for the sensitive egos of the Smart engineering team.