Smart Fortwo

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Smart Fortwo
SMART MHD, 2012, IFEVI.JPG
Overview
Manufacturer Daimler AG
Also called SmartCar (1998–2002)
Smart City Coupé
Production 1998–present
Assembly Hambach, France
Body and chassis
Class City car[1]
Kei car
Body style 3-door hatchback
2-door convertible
Layout RR layout
Related Smart Roadster

The Smart Fortwo is a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger, two-door city car manufactured and marketed by the Smart division of Daimler AG, introduced in 1998 and currently in its second generation. By mid-2013, production of the Fortwo had surpassed 1.5 million units.[2]

Marketed in 42 countries in Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia and Europe, the Fortwo is noted for its short overall length, high H-point seating, offset passenger and driver seats, automated manual transmission, De Dion rear suspension, quickly interchangeable plastic body panels and prominent safety features — particularly its steel hemispherical safety-cell, which is marketed as the Tridion cell and is often provided in a contrasting color to the vehicle's body panels.

Fortwo models are manufactured at Smartville — a dedicated Daimler assembly plant in Hambach, France — in Coupé (i.e., hatchback) and Cabrio (i.e., convertable) body styles, each in a mono-box configuration. Generations are internally designated as the W450 build series, introduced at the 1998 Paris Motor Show, and the W451 build series, introduced at the 2006 Bologna Motor Show.[3] Smartville underwent a 200 million euro upgrade beginning in mid-2013, in preparation for the forthcoming third generation Fortwo, designed in conjunction with Renault and internally designated as the C453 build series.[2][4]

Trim levels, which vary by region, are marketed as Pure, Pulse and Passion and range from basic equipment (e.g., winding windows and solid roof) to a high level of equipment (e.g., available automatic climate control, fixed panoramic polycarbonate sunroof, in-dash multi-media gps navigation system and heated leather seats). With the second generation, Smart introduced a version with automatic start-stop, marketed as the MHD, or Micro-Hyrbrid Drive — offered only in certain markets. A sport model, marketed as the Brabus model, has been available in both generations, and Daimler introduced the Smart electric drive, an all-electric version, in 2007.[5][6]

In 2002, the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) introduced a first generation Fortwo into its permanent collection.[7] and in 2014 the Fortwo was voted the Best Microcar for the fifth year in a row by readers of the Chinese edition of Auto, Motor und Sport.[8]

The brand name Smart derives from its early history as a cooperative venture between Swatch and Mercedes: Swatch Mercedes ART.[9] The Fortwo nameplate derives from its two-person seating capacity.[1]

Features[edit]

The 2001 marketing brochure for the W450 build series cites a .37 drag coefficient. Auto Motor und Sport cites a drag coefficient (Cd) of .35 and Alles Auto cites a Cd of .345 for the second generation W451 series[10][11] For comparison, the current Fiat 500 offers a .38 Cd and the first generation Honda Insight) offers a Cd of .29. The W450 and W451 series each have a frontal area of 1.95 square meters and 2.057 square meters respectively.

Automated manual transmission[edit]

The Fortwo employs a automated manual transmission designed and manufactured by Getrag to eliminate the clutch pedal. The first generation used a six-speed version, and the second generation used a five-speed version, model 5AMT130. Input from floor-mounted shifter or optional steering-wheel-mounted paddles controls a servo-operated clutch and sequential automated gearbox. The vehicle may be driven in automatic mode or via paddle shifters, where the operator controls the shift points but cannot feather or adjust the speed of the clutch.

From 2009, revised transmission software enabled smoother and faster gear changes. The software, available via an ECU upgrade, was also made available for 2008 second generation cars, with a new battery as required.[12][13]

An example of smart Fortwo compact parking

Parking[edit]

With an overall length (first generation: 2.5 m (98.4 in) approximately equal to the width of regular parking space, a smart Fortwo can park perpendicularly in spaces typically designed for parallel parking, allowing two Smarts to park in one space -- a manner of parking neither permissible in many jurisdictions worldwide (e.g., Munich, Germany) nor most U.S. jurisdictions.[14]

Identity and registration[edit]

The Smart features interchangeable body panels, whereby a car can easily assume a different look. To accommodate a licensing agent's notation of a vehicle's color, the car is sometimes registered as silver or black based on the Tridion frame color, which remains constant regardless of the body panels.

First generation (Build series W450, 1998–2007)[edit]

First generation (W450)
Smart Fortwo passion front.JPG
Overview
Also called Smart City Coupé (1998–2002)
Smart Fortwo (facelift)
Production 1998–2007
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door hatchback
Powertrain
Engine 0.6 L petrol (turbo) I3
0.7 L petrol (turbo) I3
0.8 L diesel (turbo) I3
Transmission 6-speed semi-automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Length 2,500 mm (98.4 in)
Width 1,510 mm (59.6 in)
Height 1,500 mm (61 in)
Curb weight 1,610 lb (730 kg)

The first generation, build series W450, debuted in 1998 and received a facelift in 2002.

Engine[edit]

The engines are turbocharged with three cylinders. Originally the basic petrol engine was 599 cc, and came in three versions - 45 hp (33 kW), 51 hp (41 kW) and 61 hp (45 kW). The engine displacement was increased to 698 cc with the facelift in 2002, in 37 kW (50 hp) and 45 kW (61 hp) variants. The turbo-diesel engine had 799 cc displacement giving 30 kW (41 hp).

Models[edit]

The Fortwo is available as a coupe or cabriolet, originally called the "city coupe" & "city cabrio", now the "Fortwo" & "Fortwo cabrio", introduced in 2000 and restyled in 2002. Trim levels include the Pure, Pulse, and Passion.

  • Limited 1: The first limited edition of which 7500 were made. All left-hand drive. Released at the original launch in 1998. Black Tridion cell and White body panels. Alloy wheels, Limited 1 insignia, blue interior with beige leather finishings. Supplied with certificate showing which number out of the 7500, and a plaque with this number below the windshield on the inside.
  • SE: This was the second limited edition that smart made, it was sold in mid 2001 (Mk5) and all were left hand drive. They were all Pulse specification with a redesigned steering wheel, soft touch, air conditioning, CD Multichanger and drinks holder as standard. The engine power was upped to 61BHP from the standard 55BHP normally applied to the Pulse in the 600cc G1 cars. It was designated by a SE badge on the boot and was sold in Bay Grey with grey interior and dark blue twist fabric.
  • Cdi: has the world's smallest production car diesel engine, which uses common-rail direct injection. With a consumption of 3.3 litres (NEDC) per 100 kilometres (71.2 mpg) and CO2 emissions of just 88 grams per kilometre, it has the lowest current production car CO2 emissions worldwide, since Audi and Volkswagen retired "3 litre" cars, the A2 1.2 TDI and the Lupo 1.2 TDI respectively.[15]
  • Crossblade: a 2002 limited-edition variant of the city cabrio, a roadster without a windshield, roof or conventional doors. Its weight was still 740 kilograms (1,630 lb). The Brabus-tuned engine developed 52 kW (71 PS) from its 599 cc engine. After Robbie Williams purchased Crossblade number 008, Smart began a marketing association with him, using him to promote the brand and the new Forfour.
  • Crosstown: a convertible with a foldable windshield based on the Fortwo, was presented at IAA Frankfurt in 2005. No plans have yet been announced to bring this model to market.
  • Nightrun: includes instrument panels, steering wheel, paddles, shifter, Monoblock VI alloy wheels, leather seats and engine upgrade from Brabus. Edition Nightrun is only available with the Fortwo coupé.
  • Truestyle: painted in metallic ruby red, available in pure trim.
  • i-move: a special edition run of 70 Fortwo cabrios, based on the Passion cabrio specs with Brabus Monobloc VI wheels, leather interior trim, Lite White panels, an iPod cradle with special edition 20Gb 3G iPod, and an aluminium name plate on the dash confirmed its special edition status.
  • Forfun2 Concept: an off-road version of the Fortwo introduced at the 2005 Athens Motor Show by Greek 4x4 Rally Champion Stefan Attart. It combines the body of a Fortwo with the chassis and drivetrain of a Unimog. It sports monster truck-like 26-inch wheels wrapped in 1.4 m diameter tires and winding keys where the Fortwo's rear wheels are supposed to be.[16][17]
  • Brabus: In 2003 Smart and Brabus introduced the jointly developed version of the Fortwo with the 698cc engine. It had 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) of power and 110 Nm of torque. It was available in both coupe and convertible versions. It also featured wider wheels, revised front spoiler and grille, and a revised rear exhaust.
  • K: launched in October 2001, exclusively for the Japanese market. It was designed to fit the Japanese kei car regulations by adopting specially developed rear fenders and narrowing the track width and tyre dimensions and the width reduced to 1.47 m. The engine displacement remains unchanged at 598 cc, as specified in the standard. Safety features include ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and BAS (Brake Assist System) as standard. The Smart K also facilitates the starting procedure with the Hill Start Assist that makes a starts on slopes easier.[18] The Smart K was discontinued in November 2004.[citation needed]
  • Fortwo Edition Limited One: Featured special metallic grey body panels; silver Tridion cell; brown leather for the seating, steering wheel, and shift lever — along with matching floor mats. The model marked the launch of the W451 build series.

Gallery[edit]

Second generation (Build Series W451, 2007–present)[edit]

Second generation (W451)
2008 Smart ForTwo Passion convertible -- 04-22-2011 2.jpg
Overview
Production 2007–present
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door hatchback
Powertrain
Engine 0.8 L diesel (turbo) I3
1.0 L petrol I3
1.0 L petrol (turbo) I3
Transmission 5-speed semi-automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1,870 mm (73.5 in) (2008–10)
1,867 mm (73.5 in) (2011–)
Length 2,690 mm (106.1 in) (2008–10)
2,695 mm (106.1 in) (2011–)
Width 1,560 mm (61.4 in) (2008–10)
1,559 mm (61.4 in) (2011–)
Height 1,540 mm (60.7 in) (2008–10)
1,542 mm (60.7 in) (2011–)
Kerb weight 750–795 kg (1,653–1,753 lb) (coupe)
780–820 kg (1,720–1,808 lb) (cabrio)

The second generation, build series W451, was introduced in November 2006 its length increased by 200mm to 2,690 mm (106.1 in) and offering improved crash performance. The second generation retained the prominent exposed, rigid steel safety cell, marketed as Tridion, as well as the interchangeable plastic body panels.

The range, including coupe and cabrio body styles, received a minor interior facelift for model year 2011 with a new instrument cluster, more extensive cloth trimming for the dash, optional multimedia system with a 6.5" display, optional surround-sound audio system — and standard knee airbags. For model year 2013 all Fortwo's received a minor exterior facelift with revised lower facias, front and rear, and a relocated brand emblem within rather than above the front grille.[19]

The second generation Fortwo remained the lightest production car on sale in Europe.[20]

Engine and fuel economy[edit]

The new 999 cc I3 version 3B21 (2007 onwards) is produced by Mitsubishi Motors and it comprises normally aspirated and turbo versions. German tuner company Brabus, in a joint venture with Smart, has developed a high powered version of the 1.0-litre turbo, producing 102 PS (75 kW; 101 bhp), originally available only in Europe, but now available elsewhere. A small 0.8-litre three-cylinder turbo diesel common rail engine is available in most European markets.

European Union (EU) fuel consumption testing for the combined cycle rates the 1.0-litre mhd at 65.7 mpg-imp (4.30 L/100 km; 54.7 mpg-US), the turbo at 57.6 mpg-imp (4.90 L/100 km; 48.0 mpg-US) and 85.6 mpg-imp (3.30 L/100 km; 71.3 mpg-US) for the diesel.[21] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the vehicle at 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp) combined.[22]

At the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, Smart debuted the "micro hybrid drive" (mhd) version of the Fortwo, which was subsequently launched in the UK in 2008. The technology features an automated start-stop system, and a belt-driven starter-generator, which replaces both the starter and alternator. The system generates electricity to charge the battery when the driver is braking, and automatically cuts the engine when the speed drops below 5 mph (8 km/h).[23] Smart claims a fuel efficiency improvement of eight percent from 50 miles per US gallon (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) to almost 55 miles per US gallon (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg-imp) — with a reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions from 112 to 103 g/km.[15] This was further improved to 97 g/km in 2010. The mhd version of the Fortwo is not available in the USA or Canada.

Engine Capacity Power Torque Emissions CO2 Top Speed 0-62 mph (100 km/h)
0.8 cdi (diesel) 799 cc 54 PS (40 kW; 53 bhp) 130 N·m (96 lb·ft) 86 g/km 84 mph (135 km/h) 16.8 secs
1.0 mhd (petrol) 999 cc 71 PS (52 kW; 70 bhp) 92 N·m (68 lb·ft) 97 g/km (130 g/km in NA) 90 mph (145 km/h) 13.7 secs
1.0 turbo (petrol) 999 cc 84 PS (62 kW; 83 bhp) 120 N·m (89 lb·ft) 115 g/km 90 mph (145 km/h) 10.7 secs
1.0 Brabus (petrol) 999 cc 102 PS (75 kW; 101 bhp) 147 N·m (108 lb·ft) 119 g/km 96 mph (154 km/h) 8.9 secs

Safety[edit]

At introduction, the second generation featured front airbags as well as seat-mounted combination head/thorax side airbags along with the tridion cell, seat belt tensioners, anti-lock brakes, brake force distribution and electronic stability control. In the United States from model year 2012 onward, the Fortwo featured a total of eight dual-stage airbags in the Coupe -- front, knee, side (thorax/pelvis) and window curtain -- and a total of six dual-stage airbags in the Cabrio model -- front, knee, side (thorax/head) dual-stage airbags. As a part of the vehicle's tridion cell and crash management system, the front crumple zone is maximized by the rear-mounted engine location.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, the 2008 Smart Fortwo, the smallest car marketed in the US market, earned the top overall rating of "Good" in both the front and side crash tests. The Fortwo received the "Good" score in 8 of 11 measured injury categories.[24] Its seat/head restraints earned the second highest rating of "Acceptable" for protection against whiplash in rear impacts. The IIHS did an offset crash test with a Smart Fortwo and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is 40% of one car's driver's side head on with 40% of another car's driver's side, and the Smart received a "Poor" rating due to the occupants' heads slamming into the steering wheel. Also, there was too much intrusion into the footwell of the Smart Fortwo. The dummy movement was not well controlled. The Smart Fortwo spun 450 degrees in the air upon impact.[25]

U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test results for the 2008 Smart Fortwo:[26]

  • Frontal Driver: 4/5 stars
  • Frontal Passenger: 3/5 stars
  • Side Driver: 5/5 stars *The driver door unlatched and opened during the side impact crash which increases the likelihood of occupant ejection.
  • Rollover: 3/5 stars

Euro NCAP crash results:[27]

  • Adult Occupant: 4/5 stars
  • Pedestrian: 2/4 stars

Smart electric drive[edit]

Third generation Smart electric drive

An all-electric version of the Fortwo, the Smart Fortwo electric drive, began development in 2006.[28][29] Field testing began in London with 100 units in 2007, and the second generation, with a total of 2,000 units, was introduced in 2009 and available in 18 markets around the world for leasing or through the Car2Go carsharing service in San Diego and Amsterdam.[5][6][30][31] Production of the second-generation Smart Fortwo electric drive began in November 2009 in Hambach, France. The Smart EDs have a lithium-ion battery provided by Tesla Motors with capacity of 14 kilowatt-hours (50 MJ). The range of a fully charged battery is up to 135 kilometres (84 miles) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) cycle.[32][33] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's official all-electric range is 63 miles (101 km) and rated the Smart ED with a combined fuel economy of 87 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) (2.7 L gasoline equivalent/100 km; 104 mpg-imp gasoline equivalent).[34]

The third-generation Smart electric drive is scheduled to be launched in the U.S. and Europe by the second quarter of 2013 and Daimler AG plans to mass-produce the electric car with availability in 30 markets worldwide.[6][35] The third-generation Smart electric drive was unveiled at the September 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.[36] Key differences with the second-generation model include a more powerful electric motor, which improves acceleration and top speed, a new lithium-ion battery pack that will allow to increase the range to 140 kilometres (87 mi), and an option for quick-charge will be available.[6][36]

Brabus[edit]

2008 Fortwo Brabus

Brabus (styled BRABUS) is a sport package that include a sport exhaust with dual center tips, sport suspension, 16- front and 17-inch rear wheels, power steering and various Brabus visual cues. An originally planned turbocharged engine was not included.[37] The Brabus package is available in cabriolet or coupe body styles, the latter equipped with a panoramic roof (made of glass for the first generation and polycarbonate for the second), and available in metallic silver or deep black.

Gallery[edit]

Third Generation (Build series W453/C453, forthcoming)[edit]

The third generation will be cooperatively developed with Renault, will be available as the two-seater (internally designated as the C453 build series)[2]and four-seater (internally designated the W453 build series), marketed as the Fortwo and Forfour, respectively. Motor Trend has reported the third generation will debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, sharing approximately 70% of its parts with the third generation Renault Twingo. Smart CEO Annette Winkler has reported that the C453 will share its 2.69 meter length with the current W451 build series[38] as well as its trademark hemispherical steel safety cell, marketed as the Tridion cell.[39] The Fortwo will continue to be asssembled at Smartville, and the Forfour will be manufactured alongside the Renault Twingo 3 in in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.[40] Smartville, where the W450 and W451 build series have been manufactured, underwent a 200 million euro upgrade beginning in mid-2013, in preparation for the C453 Fortwo.

According to chief development engineer for the C453/W453, Markus Rieder (who had previously worked on development of the Mercedes ML and GL SUV's),[41] the Fortwo and ForFour will be offered with a choice of manual transmission or double-clutch automatic[4] — and nolonger with the Getrag automated manual. According to Rieder, both models will feature a wider track, overall width increased by 10cm, improved ride and improved noise isolation.[42]

For the forthcoming third generation, Autoweek reports that Daimler has consulted with Ford to learn about Ford's 1.0 Liter turbo-charged inline 3-cyclinder engine, in turn sharing information about its own Euro6 stratified lean-burn gasoline engines.[43]

International markets[edit]

The smart was initially available only in left-hand-drive form, as the floorpan allowed only for a left-hand-drive version. Smart subsequently designed a floorpan for right-hand-drive models. The Fortwo is now marketed in 37 countries worldwide.

Australia: The Smart Fortwo has been marketed through select Mercedes-Benz dealers in Australia since 2003 in only the middle 'Pulse' range, and with the petrol engine. As of April 16, 2007 the base price for the Fortwo coupé is A$19,900, and for the Fortwo cabriolet is $22,900.

China: In April 2008, Smart premiered at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show. In October 2008, the Smart "vending machine" road show had the first stop in Shenyang and began the Fortwo's pre-order period.

The Smart "vending machine" in Shenyang, China

Japan: The Fortwo is the only non-Japanese car ever to fulfill the regulations for Kei cars.[citation needed] There is a Japan-only variant of the first generation Smart Fortwo, called the Smart K.

Canada[edit]

The smart fortwo was introduced in Canada in September 2004 and sold through Mercedes-Benz dealers. Only the turbo-diesel powerplant was offered for the 450 coupé and 450 convertible models because the fuel vapour recovery system for the gasoline powered car would have had to be redesigned to meet Transport Canada standards. Diesels do not require such a system because the fuel is not volatile, so the cdi was certified instead. Demand was initially heavy, with up to six-month waiting lists in major urban areas in the spring of 2005. The vehicle has proven especially popular for light errand running for small shops and businesses, with many carrying custom paint jobs or stick-on graphics boldly advertising the associated product or service. 10,242 cdi cars were imported in model years 2005 and 2006. Two or three of these were used in Transport Canada crash testing. At least 85 of the Canadian diesels have subsequently been registered in the USA as of October 2013, all as used cars.

Canada received three special versions of the 450 cdi: the grandstyle - only available in dark green with silver, and beige leather - of which 200 were imported in coupé and cabriolet forms, the BRABUS nightrun - equipped with BRABUS accessories at the Hambach factory, which only came as a black on black (with blue-grey leather) coupé, and 50 of those were delivered, and finally the BRABUS Tailor Made Canada 1 models, of which only four were produced, three red on red and one white on white, all with highest equipment levels and all BRABUS accessories, high quality dyed-through leather and Alcantara interiors. The white car is a cabriolet, as are two of the red ones. The sole Canada 1 coupé has a fixed glass roof.

In 2008, Canada received only the gasoline 451 model because the diesel version did not meet 2007 Canadian emission standards. The 451 fortwo carries a 1.0-litre engine that delivers up to 70 horsepower (52 kW) and a re-engineered automated-manual 5-speed transmission with a slightly larger body. This engine has been the sole powertrain for Canada since the 451 was introduced - even the BRABUS models only have 70 HP. The 451 has sold very well in Canada: over 12,600 were registered between the start of 2008 and the end of 2012. The lack of a diesel option has hindered 451 sales to some owners of the diesel 450s.

Canada received several special versions of the 451 as well: the limited 1, the limited 3, the highstyle, the greystyle, the edit10n BRABUS Tailor Made (ten coupés), one all orange "Ultimate" BRABUS Tailor Made, the sharpred, among others.

Smart Canada released ten 10th anniversary edition smart Fortwo cars in February 2009. Each car started life as a Canadian BRABUS model before being converted into 10th anniversary editions by BRABUS in Germany. All examples feature arctic grey metallic paint with brown and alcantara leather interiors and black BRABUS Monoblock 7 wheels. The cars carry a number plate on the dash to signify its production number out of ten.

Smart Canada also commissioned Busch Automodelle GmbH to produce 1:87 scale versions (with a black tridion), of which 10,000 were made.

2013 Smart Fortwo

United States[edit]

In June of 2002, a Smart Fortwo was exhibited in the U.S. at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) affiliate P.S. 1 in Queens, New York.

In September 2006, Daimler AG announced that Smart USA, a division of Penske Auto Group[44] ) would officially distribute Smart in the United States and Puerto Rico. Subsequenlty, the second generation smart Fortwo (Model 451) became available in January 2008.

The 2009 model year US version of the smart Fortwo was available in three trims: Pure (base trim), Passion, and Passion cabriolet. Pure has an MSRP of US$11,990, Passion has an MSRP of $13,990, and the Passion Cabriolet has an MSRP $16,990.[45] A reservation program was launched by Smart USA in March, 2007.[46][47] This program allowed interested parties to place a $99 refundable deposit on the new Fortwo in preparation for the product's launch. Since the product's launch, sales have surpassed production and the reservation program continues as a "wait list" program.[48][49] The average wait used to be 12 to 18 months for delivery; although due to the economy, many buyers couldn't purchase the vehicles when they were ready for delivery and many are available on dealer lots.[citation needed]

The Fortwo was rated as the most fuel efficient two-seater car in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2008 Fuel Economy Guide, with fuel efficiency ratings of 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp) city and 41 mpg-US (5.7 L/100 km; 49 mpg-imp) highway.[50] The 2008 Smart Fortwo coupe was given an EPA fuel efficiency rating of 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp) combined.[51]

On May 14, 2008, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released crash test results for the Fortwo. The IIHS gave the Fortwo top ratings in protecting passengers in front and side crashes.[52] However, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cited a Safety Concern on their tests of a 2008 Fortwo, stating "during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened. A door opening during a side impact crash increases the likelihood of occupant ejection."[53]

For model years 2012 and later, the U.S. Fortwo Coupe featured eight airbags (front, knee, side and window curtain), while the Cabrio model featured six airbags (front, knee and side-mounted combination head/thorax).

Smart Fortwo in the United States

In early 2006, prior to formal importation to the United States, a specialty firm - G and K Auto conversions of Santa Ana California received DOT, NHTSA, and EPA approval to market a modified European specification Smart Fortwo in the US. Modifications for the grey market vehicles included DOT certified headlights, reinforced doors for additional side impact protection, an odometer in miles rather than kilometers, and soft padding on the interior pillars and ceiling. Approximately 1,000 model year 2004, 2005, and 2006 cars were imported.

Chinese copy controversy[edit]

Shuanghuan Bubble (Martin Motors) front quarter

In 2007, Chinese manufacturer Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan Automobile Co released the Shuanghuan Noble (also known as the Martin Motors Bubble), designed similarly to the Fortwo and prompting Daimler AG to sue Shuanghuan for copyright infringement.[54] The German manufacturer persuaded the Italian court to prohibit the Noble from being exhibited at the Bologna Motor Show, but importer Martin Motors violated that injunction and put the car on display.[55]

In May 2009, a Greek judge ruled against Daimler, allowing the Noble to be sold in Greece. The judge cited that "if a vehicle varies in its technical specification, then any external similarities are irrelevant." This was in reference to the Noble being a front-engine, front-wheel-drive car, while the Fortwo is a similar sized rear-engine and rear-wheel-drive car.[56]

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