The Smart Roadster
is a two-door sports car first introduced in 2003 by Smart GmbH
. Sales of the Roadster and Roadster Coupé met expectations, however warranty claims resulted in a halt of production of both models in November 2005 after 43,091 Roadsters were made. The last one now resides in the Mercedes-Benz Museum
At the 1998 Paris Motor Show
, the two-seat, 2.5 m (98 in)-long Smart City Coupe (later named Smart Fortwo
) was launched. This was the beginning of a new car brand and one of the more radical vehicle concepts to hit the European market since the bubble cars
of the 1950s. It was also the beginning of a difficult period for Smart. The City Coupe had stability problems that were discovered only immediately prior to launch. These forced a package of alterations to be made that were both expensive and compromised the car’s handling, ride and gear shift. Public concerns over the car's stability, combined with Smart’s elitist marketing and the sheer radicality of the car’s design, proved damaging to initial sales. Production projections were slashed from 200,000 per year to 80,000, close to disastrous for a new brand with just one product.
Inside the company, the evangelical buzz surrounding the launch of the radical City Coupe quickly evaporated. With new management, new marketing initiatives and continuing revisions to the car’s engineering to answer public concerns, future vehicle plans, including development of a four-seat model, had not been... Read More