Smart Cabrio on ebay motors...

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world in his VW microbus mobile home. He has also shipped his car to the US and used it there (he was not very pleased to find it burglarized when he picked it up in the harbour). I have also heard of several guys who wanted to bike across the states and brought their BMW motorbikes with them.
Frank
BTW: Technically it should not be a big problem to run a smart in the US, because the car meets all enviromental and safety standards which other very small cars like the Geo Metro meet. The smart is a very small car, but not a very cheap one.
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Frank Kemper wrote:

No, it does not meet US regulations which is somewhat different from ECE regulations, namely collision tests, fuel leak tests, headlamps and lighting systems, ad infinitim. ECE might be more superior in most regualtions, but the Americans are so myrmidomic about their own regulations...
Mercedes-Benz has not considered the Smart Car for US market during the developmental cycle. With a couple more years remaining on current model, it is too late to do the major re-engineering work for one or two years remaining of marketing. I understand Mercedes-Benz has promised to include the Smart ForTwo along with ForFour.
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Mercedes saved the money to do the homologation process. Of course you always have parts to change (numberplate holder, lights, mile speedometer and so on), but the rest should be okay.
Frank
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On Wed, 14 Apr 2004, Frank Kemper wrote:

Both. The car does not meet the US standards; this is quite obvious just by looking at it. Non-spec bumpers, front and rear. Non-spec mirrors, left and right. Non-spec glass all around. Non-spec headlamps, front turn signals, rear lamp assemblies. No sidemarker lights, front or rear. No sidemarker reflectors, front or rear. Non-spec interior displays (odometer, parking brake warning lamp). Non-spec seatbelts. Non-spec airbag system. The list goes on and on and on.

Mile speedometers aren't required. But tell us, guy, where are we going to find these nonexistent US-compliant Smart head and taillamps, window glass, sideview mirrors, and all the other stuff they don't make 'cause they don't sell 'em here?

Donno where you got this idea, it's wrong.
Anyway, here's the answer from the Ebay seller in response to my query:
----- Original Message -----

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 21:31:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Smart car on Ebay
We are the second owners of the car. We bought the car from a German man who imported it from Germany. When we bought it in Ohio, all we needed was the Ohio title. With it, we transferred the title to our name. Got it registered and bought normal passenger car license plates. We do not know anything about any forms because we did not import the car, sorry I know this isn't the response you wanted.
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I think you did not get my point. If Mercedes wanted to sell the car in the US, it would be possible to get DOT-EPA for it, even if they had to change some parts (as they do in every car they sell to the US)
Frank
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On Sun, 18 Apr 2004, Frank Kemper wrote:

Well, surely it would be possible. Volume importation by a vehicle maker, however, is an entirely different consideration than single-vehicle importation by a private individual. And it's not just changing parts, it's re-engineering systems and going through the *VERY* expensive emissions certification testing (not your yearly smog check down at the service station, this process takes DAYS) and crash testing (front, side, rear, etc.).
DS
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Of course. Actually they do emission certification testing and crash tests to get the cars ready for Europe. I don't think they had to redesign the car to meet US emission and crash standards. They basically only had to perform a second series of tests (and maybe adjust the engine computer to accept lower quality fuel).
Frank
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On Mon, 19 Apr 2004, Frank Kemper wrote:

No, they submit the cars for *type approval* testing, which is not the same in procedure or "pass" standards as the North American cert tests.

In virtually every case where a car is designed to one set of standards (e.g. ECE), significant redesign is required in order to comply with the other (e.g. North American). There exist requirements in each set of standards that are absent from the other. *Performance* standards, not just equipment standards. It's easy to change the bumpers, add sidemarker lights, etc. But North American standard 301 ("Fuel System Integrity") requires zero fuel loss with a 360-degree rollover *and* with a 50 km/h direct rear impact (soon to be increased to 80 km/h in response to exploding Fords...again). There is no rollover fuel-loss standard in ECE, and the rear impact fuel loss test in ECE is only 35 km/h. Conversely, there are offset frontal crash performance, brake and suspension performance requirements in ECE that are absent from the North American standards.
DS
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Yes, we did get the point! It is you who don't always get facts straight!
If Mercedes-Benz did not believe US market is READY for the tiny cars such as Smart Cars and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, it will NOT expend additional fund to make them US legal. It cost on the average of $10million to engineer EACH model to meet US DOT regulations and to comply with EPA emission regulations.
It took Mercedes-Benz about twenty years to realise the strong market potential for its Gelndewagen in the USA. The company rushed the homologation job during the belated renovations to the Gelndewagen in 2002.
Now, Mercedes-Benz is waking up to the niche market for the smaller cars in the USA.
Smart has same crash-worthiness as Mercedes-Benz C-Class. If C-Class does well in US crash tests, no doubt why Smart cannot fail the US crash test...
Oliver
Frank Kemper wrote:

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That is the same response I received from the couple when querying about the registration and title. I think we frightened them into taking their Smart out of ebay motors...
Oliver
Daniel J. Stern wrote:

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On Wed, 14 Apr 2004, Frank Kemper wrote:

That is not correct. The Smart is not manufacturer-certified as complying with all applicable US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, antitheft and bumper standards, nor is it manufacturer-certified as conforming to all US EPA requirements applicable to vehicles of its model year. The Smart is type-approved to the international ECE safety and environmental standards, which means it is admissible to any country that accepts ECE-approved cars and parts, but the US and Canada do not accept ECE-approved cars. Some of the many different environmental and safety standards have varying degrees of overlap such that it's possible to build one car that conforms to both sets of standards simultaneously, but conformity with one set of standards in NO way implies conformity with the other set of standards.
DS
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Maybe I made a language error. I know that the smart is not DOT-EPA approved. But I do not think that it cannot meet the requirements because it wouold not meet US crash, enviromental or anti-theft standards. Maybe the biggest issue would be installing bumpers which survive 5 mph crashes. New headlight should be a task which can be solved.
I believe your words that a DOT-EPA approval cannot be achieved for that car at reasonable cost, but I think the reason for that is not of techical but of political reason.
Frank
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The 5mph requirement went away years ago (1982) - it's 2.5mph IIRC.
I have to say that, if you didn't know that, what else about US regs don't you know?
Floyd
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Do you expect an answer on that rant?
Frank
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says...

5mph bumpers are no longer required. So that is not the issue. I think the smart would be hard pressed to pass us crash standards simply because there is so little structure both in front and back to absorb the energy of a crash. -------------- Alex
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Gray-market Smarts could beat factory to U.S.
By Diana T. Kurylko
Automotive News / March 08, 2004
Gray market Coupe and convertible
2 U.S. importers have received federal approval to bring in 2-seaters this year.
Factory authorized ForMore 4-seat SUV to be imported from Brazil and sold by Mercedes-Benz dealers in 2006. Gray marketers could be selling Smart cars in the United States by summer, two years before Mercedes-Benz will introduce the European microcar brand here.
Two U.S. companies have been granted permission by the federal government to bring the French-built two-seater into the United States. One says it can sell 15,000 Smart cars annually in America.
Both say the 98.4-inch-long coupe and convertible could be on sale within 90 days if final EPA certification is granted as expected.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ruled that the Smart two-seaters are eligible for importing into the United States.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz USA LLC is setting up a franchise to introduce the brand in mid-2006 with a new four-seat SUV called ForMore. It has no plans to sell the Smart microcar, which was introduced in 1997 in Europe.
Coupes, convertibles and roadsters are made by Smart, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, in Hambach, France.
G&K Automotive Conversion of Santa Ana, Calif., and J.K. Technologies LLC in Baltimore applied last year for permission from the federal government to import the Smart. When NHTSA gave the importers a green light on Jan. 22, [...] says Coleman Sachs, chief of NHTSA's import and certification division. [...]
Mercedes-Benz will show its U.S. dealers the ForMore at a meeting in Las Vegas this month. There are no plans to import the current generation of Smart models into the United States, said Dave Schembri, the Mercedes-Benz vice president in charge of Smart.
Mercedes executives in the United States say Smart buyers may have problems obtaining servicing of gray-market vehicles.
"We urge all to purchase cars through the Mercedes car group," Schembri said. "We'd hate to see a customer put in the position that they have no service outlet."
J.K. Technologies says it plans to sell Smarts through a few Mercedes-Benz dealers in the Baltimore area and Florida. J.K. will buy cars from a European distributor.
The conversion company wants to sell between 500 and 1,000 cars annually and would service the cars, said J.K. Technologies President Jonathan Weisheit. The company has been working on the Smart project for about 2 years, he said.
No scattershot
"We want to very careful with the Smart reputation in America - our sales won't be on a scattershot basis," Weisheit said. "We don't want the Smart image to in any way be tarnished. This vehicle is brilliant in its own right."
He said dealerships that J.K. works with on conversion jobs will sell the cars.
"We can guarantee service and parts in Baltimore and Florida - we aren't interested in importing 10,000 Smarts," Weisheit said.
He said he isn't ready to disclose which dealers will sell the cars.
G&K Automotive Conversion is negotiating with about 100 non-Mercedes-Benz new-car dealerships to sell the Smart in six to eight weeks, owner George Gemayel said. Gemayel said he and his business partners want to sell as many as 15,000 Smarts a year. They will purchase stock from European dealerships.
The longtime importer of gray-market Ferraris, Porsches, McLarens and other cars plans to buy Smarts for between $8,000 and $10,000. Gemayel said that in the United States, the vehicles will have a sticker price of $14,500 for the two-door model and $19,500 for the convertible.
Automotive News Online
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Yes, most Americans are too big for the Smart, so the sales would be low....
;-) DAS
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I am 2.04 metres tall and weight 135 kg. I fit into a smart better than in any other sub-sub compact car. OTOH I haven't tried the new smart roadster yet - it simply is not my type of a car.
Frank
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On Tue, 20 Apr 2004 12:30:56 +0100, Frank Kemper wrote:

My father strongly believes he failed one of his driving tests because he, at 1.93 metres, took it in a Mini!
Still, he was always fine with Minis - even briefly had one which was purely his!
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you would be amazed at the interior room on a smart, more than on a vw golf for ex

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