The race is on. Around the world, auto manufacturers are seeking safe, fuel efficient designs that are environmentally friendly. A tall order -- it requires advanced planning and years of practice to get right. In Germany, DaimlerChrysler is now building a car, called the Smart car, that can get over 50 miles a gallon and is safe. This vehicle has been on sale in Europe since 1998, but never offered for sale in North America until recently. This year was the first year it was offered in Canada and it sold 4,000 vehicles, well over targeted sales of 1,400 vehicles. The car weighs approximately 2,000 pounds (1 ton) and its shape has been compared to a giant baby shoe. We won't know how well it will do in the US, however, until 2008 when it will go on sale here.
What is really interesting is that this story was reported on June 29, 2006 on the German National Public Radio Web Site (Deutsche Welle). On the same web site for October 16, 2006 there is a story about a company from China having copied the design and selling the car in Europe. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or is it?
Details are available at the Deutsche Welle web site: