CBS Hypes Tiny 'Smart Car,' Derides 'Bigger is Better Attitude'
Detroit is finally wising up about its cars. Itâ€™s taking a smaller-is-better cue from Europe, CBS told viewers of the June 28 â€śEvening News.â€ť
But reporter John Blackstoneâ€™s take on DaimlerChryslerâ€™s (NYSE: DCX) plans to sell the tiny Smart USA ForTwo car in the United States left out one big reason the car may not sell well in America: itâ€™s not a good choice for highway driving, with low horsepower and a top speed under 90 miles per hour.
Anchor Bob Schieffer led off his introduction by predicting that â€śif gas prices keep climbing, it may start looking very smart indeedâ€ť to buy the 8-foot long â€śmicro car.â€ť
â€śThe tiny Smart Car has been on European roads for years,â€ť Blackstone noted, adding itâ€™s â€śparticularly popular in crowded cities.â€ť
The CBS reporter praised the Smart car for high gas mileage and its â€śprotective cage like a race car,â€ť but blamed an SUV-friendly market for keeping the car out of production in U.S. auto plants until now.
â€śAmericaâ€™s bigger is better attitude will have to do a U-turn for the $15,000 micro car to catch on,â€ť Blackstone lamented.
What he conveniently left out was just why the car may have a hard time rolling off the showroom floor.
â€śThe ForTwo's impressive fuel economy is achieved, for the most part, through sheer tiny-ness,â€ť CNNMoney.comâ€™s Peter Valdes-Dapena reported in a June 29 Web site article. â€śThe current version is powered by a 0.7-liter, three-cylinder engine that produces a mere 60 horsepower and 74 foot-pounds of torque,â€ť he added.
And according to Zap World â€“ a Smart car auto dealership Blackstone found that â€śAmericanizesâ€ť European-made models for U.S. customers â€“ the top speed of the Smart cars they sell is a speedy 85 miles per hour.
By contrast, the 2007 Honda Fit, another new car marketed for its small size and fuel economy, packs a heavier punch with a 109-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine. And according to Car and Driver, the Honda Fit Sport edition can top out at 110 miles per hour.