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A smart car refers to a special type of automobile manufactured to conserve resources and hence improve effectiveness (Diez 41). These resources include fuel and other automobile components that run vehicles. Smart cars are designed to cater for the lower end of the automobile market. Most automobile manufactures deal in expensive cars that most customers cannot afford. This realization marked the birth of the smart car that has seen it through different generations since its introduction into the market (General books LLC 11). It is hailed for its efficiency, its cost and conservation abilities that make it economical.
Nicolas Hayek developed the idea of a smart car in the close of the 1980’s .Hayek was the CEO of SMH, a company that manufactured Swatch watches .He conceived the idea after realizing that many customers were in need of a small and affordable vehicle that was stylish at the same time. The automobile industry concentrated on big and expensive cars that only served the high end of the market and ignored the lower end market .Upon development of the idea, Hayek first named it “Swatchmobile” after the name of his company (Warl 19). Work on the proposed car began almost immediately. Hayek Engineering AG, an engineering company owned by Hayek, was responsible for designing and manufacturing the car. The design was to include a hybrid drivetrain mechanism and a seating space for two people.
During the designing period, Hayek foresaw possible competition from other automobile companies because the smart car would present a threat to their businesses. To avert this possible uncertainty, he decided to collaborate with another automobile manufacturer to produce the car, as joint venture.Theis collaboration would also reduce the cost that was to be incurred by SMH in both manufacturing and distributing the cars after completion . Hayek held talks with several automobile manufacturers and after serious deliberations and consultations chose Volkswagen as the partner in the project. The two reached an agreement on July 1991 to share costs and manufacture the car . The project encountered a great challenge in the year 1993.Ferdinand Piech had been appointed the CEO of Volkswagen and sough to end the joint project with SMH.This was because Volkswagen had already developed an idea for a four-seater car that would run on three liters of fuel for a distance of 100 kilometers (General books LLC 22).By this time, Volkswagen had already began work on that car.Analytsts proposed that the Volkswagen project was a better business idea than that of SMH.This was because the car that Volkswagen were manufacturing had a higher fuel conservation capacity and a bigger cargo space (General books LLC 26). This presented a major setback to SMH.
Earlier, Hayek had suspected that the new CEO of Volkswagen would end the collaboration and had therefore begun talks with other companies. Many companies rejected the idea. These companies included Renault, BMW, General Motors and Fiat. None of these companies liked the idea of a smart car because they were manufactures of expensive brands and feared losing their market to the smart car.Finally, Hayek came into an agreement with the manufacturer of Mercedes cars, Daimler-Benz AG.The two companies reached and announced their agreement in 1994 in Germany. The two agreed to found a new subsidiary company that would work on the project. The named it Micro Compact Car AG (MCC).SMH gave 49% of the initial finances needed to start work on the car and Daimler-Benz gave the remaining 51%.the new company was divided into two divisions: one division was responsible for designing the car and the other one for manufacturing.
The designing company was called MCC Gmbh and the manufacturing subsidiary was unknown because they refused to disclose neither the name nor the location. Hayek’s both companies were given the responsibility to develop an electric system for the car and audit the design to ensure that it was well designed. They were also responsible for manufacturing the car. At the same conference, Mercedes Benz introduced two cars that had the design concept of the smart car.MCC had already established offices by the close of April in 1994 and had stationed their headquarters in Biel, Switzerland. Three directors were appointed to steer the new company. Their first challenge was to come up with an appropriate name for the car. Daimler Benz wanted a common name but Hayek wanted to include swatch in the name of the car. Eventually they settled on the name smart. Within one month after inception, the directors had pinpointed 74 possible locations that the manufacturing plant would be built. In December 1994, they disclose the name of the location they had settled for: Hambach in France. On commencement of the project, MC received orders from many dealers. They developed their system in a way that they could share the cost of production of the car with dealers. They majored in producing parts o the car and supplied them to dealers. Upon reception, the dealers would then assemble them using their own work force. This reduced costs to both MCC and the purchasing companies. The smart car presents many possibilities that if utilized well can result in economic advancement.However; the great financial loses that the manufacturer experienced may be an obstacle to achieving this. From recent predictions that the oil reserves may run dry, the smart car may gain its popularity once again. It may be used to conserve fuel to slow down the rate of oil reserves depletion (Reed 34). In addition, smart cars may be used as the major means of transport because they are affordable and economical. Further improvements on previous designs may be important in designing more efficient smart cars . This defines the future of smart cars. To popularize them, it may be necessary to conduct extensive research on market trends and consumer preferences. Otherwise, loses may be the aftermath of large productions.
There are many future expectations on smart cars. First, manufacturers need to continue designing and improving previous models to ensure greater conservation abilities. For example, a fully electric driven smart car was developed in 2006 and tests began in 2007 in readiness for introduction into the market. It was designed to run on batteries made from sodium and nickel (Warl 49). Further improvements would include the use of batteries that would take a shorter time to fully charge and that could generate more electric power to run the car.Secondly, the manufacturers could also vary the designs to fit customer preference . For example, it may be important to vary the capacity, size, shape and interior features that customers consider before making a purchase.
Smart cars have many advantages that make them a necessity for growth and conservation of resources. These advantages include; they use less gas, their manufacture involves use of less metal, they are cheap and they do not cause environmental pollution (General books LLC 54). As such, smart cars are a piece of technological advancement that is vital for economic growth. First, smart cars consume little gas. Scientists have hinted that if new alternatives to the use of fuel are not developed, oil reserves available at present may be depleted within a short period. As such, embracement of the smart car technology may serve as an alternative that may slow down gas consumption thus conserving the limited oil reserves available.
In addition, the rising price of oil in the international market has raised the demand for smart cars. Using less fuel means that they are economic and therefore affordable within the financial abilities of the owners. They help in saving money that would have been used to buy more fuel for other vehicle designs. Secondly, the manufacture of smart cars involves less metal. This means that the cost of production is low and the metal that would have used to make the car is used for other purposes. This also means that other materials are used in the manufacture. Most materials that are used in place of metals make smart cars safer.
For example the use of high-tech, non-metallic materials and air bags improve safety. Thirdly, smarts cars do not cause environmental pollution. The fact that they use less fuel means that they emit little gases that cause pollution. This has further been made possible by the development of electric cars that use electric power. This has reduced pollution by a big margin. Finally, smart cars are cheap hence affordable. Many people cannot afford to buy other vehicles models because they are expensive and with the recent economic depression, unaffordable. They also occupy fewer parking spaces compared to bigger vehicles because three of them can fit in a space that is occupied by regular vehicles .This reduces congestion in the parking places. Its small size also enables it turn easily as compared to other vehicles.
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