China-Only “Year Of The Rabbit” Smart Car To Debut At Shanghai Auto Show

Year Of The Rabbit Smart Car Limited To 300 Units

Limited-edition "Year of the Rabbit" Smart FourTwo

Limited-edition “Year of the Rabbit” Smart FourTwo

While many automakers are set to unveil their latest and greatest at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show, the Mercedes-Benz-owned microcar maker Smart looks to make up in cultural currency what it lacks in size. According to China’s Northern Online, at the show, which runs from April 23-28, Smart will debut its China-only “Year of the Rabbit” FourTwo, limited to only 300 units. This specially outfitted FourTwo, which will come in either 52kW (799 cc) or 62kW (999 cc) versions, features an all-white “rabbit” finish, along with exclusively designed logos on the front bumper, fuel cap, and throughout the interior. As an added gift, buyers will receive “Rabbit Edition” headrest pillows, water bottles, and keychains.

While this may look like another case of a company shoe-horning Chinese cultural references into one of its products, Smart is in the midst of a strong push in the Chinese market. All told, the company will debut three new Smart cars at the Shanghai Auto Show: the Year of the Rabbit edition, the all-new 2011 Smart, and the Fourspeed concept car.

As part of its China efforts, Smart recently appointed NBA star Kobe Bryant, as much (if not more) of a superstar in China as in the U.S., as its China brand ambassador, casting the 6’6″ Bryant in its “Big, In The City” ad campaign. This campaign, which features the basketball star in a Smart FourTwo pursuing an art thief, attempts to combat one of the major sources of consumer resistance to the cars in China: a perception of little interior space.

The Year of the Rabbit FourTwo features "Rabbit Edition" accents throughout (Image: PC Auto)

The Year of the Rabbit FourTwo features “Rabbit Edition” accents throughout (Image: PC Auto)