In fact, the use of plastics for automotive applications has risen from about 27 kg per vehicle in 1970 to more than 163 kg in 1999. According to some 1999 European research studies, using 100 kg of plastic material in modern cars replaces between 200 and 300 kg of other materials. This, in turn, reduces fuel consumption by 750 liters over the 150,000 kilometers life span of the average car.(Plastics,1999) Plastic technology with advances in polymers is not only increasingly established in automobile industry but also is going to be the basis of product improvement in days to come. Futuristic cars, which are environment friendly, would need to be light in bulk so as to result in fuel saving and to shift to other energy substitutes which can support vehicles light on bulk. DaimlerChrysler, parent of Mercedes, is itself listing such alternative energy technologies as F-cell, Hydrogen, Renewable energy and Sun Diesel etc.Then MCC has the unenviable brand support from Swatch and it would be ideally placed to get about another marketing ingenuity by positioning smart cars along side ultra popular Swatch and derive advantage out of the goodwill in watch operations highlighting in the same breath the superiority of their plastic technology and product features of smart car.
Hayek, the Swatch pioneer and collaborator of Mercedes in MCC Smart , helped apply his Swatch strategy of simplifying and reducing the product design by standardizing Smart car design and reduce it to a modular form which could be assembled fairly easily. The result was Smart City Coupe, a two seater car measuring a near 2.5 meters in length, 1.51 meters in width and 1.53 meters in height. The car is based on a rigid integral body frame/safety cell called Tridion to which flexible parts like doors, front and rear panels or roof can be fixed. The customer can indulge in customized choice by combining basic colors of safety cell with those of flexible parts. Product variations can be had in interiors, body colours, comfort features and engine power. All those features that may interfere with customization are already integrated as part of standardization.Variations ,according o customer demand can be assembly line based or done at Smart centers, which have been essentially opened to service Smart customers and take Smart orders.Smart car is so compact that it could be parked horizontally or vertically and two cars in one parking lot. Apart from fuel efficiency, safety in driving and customization the car offered a unique solution to individual mobility problems and due to low emissions and completely recyclable nature of body parts after life cycle made it very environment friendly. For customer the product could be extended on new lease of life midway its usage by adding replaceable parts. Thus the product had all that European customers desired.
The European test launch of the Smart car received very enthusiastic customers' response as a result of which a full and elaborate production facility was setup. In order to cater to European consumers the production facility was integrated with a supply chain which had several innovations away from the regular model of supply chains in automotive industry. These innovations included rendering ability to the customer to order