DaimlerChrysler Subsidiary Announces Recall of 500 Ultra-Compact Smart CarsJun 18, 2002 | AP
DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Micro Compact Car AG said Tuesday it was recalling 500 of its popular ultra-compact Smart cars to repair a possible steering problem.
Spokesman Hubert Kogel said the company has found that a weld on the drive shaft may be prone to breaking, which would cause the driver to lose control of the car. He said there have been no accidents reported.
Some 3,900 newly produced cars may have the problem, but only 500 have been delivered to customers, Kogel said.
The 500 cars were sold in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The Smart car went on sale across Europe in 1999. It was developed by Micro Compact Car, a joint venture between the German automaker and Swatch Group, the Swiss manufacturer of the Swatch wristwatch. In November 1999, Swatch sold its stake in the project to DaimlerChrysler.
The car takes up just about half of a standard parking spot and runs on around a third less gas than its compact rivals. With its mix-and-match, brightly colored replaceable parts and all-plastic body, the car is aimed at a young market.
The recall comes at a time of brisk sales, with the company announcing a 7 percent increase over the first five months of last year, to nearly 50,000.
DaimlerChrysler expects to decide soon whether to bring the car to the United States, Kogel said.