G & K Auto Conversion Inc. of Santa Ana, CA, is completing the U.S. conversion of several hundred Smart ForTwo minicars to be purchased and distributed by Santa Rosa, CA-based electric vehicle maker and distributor Zap.
Smart is a wholly owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler AG that has been struggling to be profitable since its 1998 debut.(See related story: Smart Says on Path to Sound Economic Footing )
Although there are other business ventures in Florida and Colorado reportedly importing Smart vehicles, George Gemayel, owner of G & K, says his company is the only entity approved to import and modify the cars for the U.S. market. (See related story: Cash Zaps In for U.S. Smart Car)
Zap intends to deliver some 85 ForTwos to customers this week, with the remaining vehicles to be distributed shortly, G & K says.
The ’05 and ’06 model Smart cars are certified for use in 45 states by the Environmental Protection Agency and Dept. of Transportation. Certification for California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont is pending approval.