The Hiwassee College Tiger has given birth to "cubs."
The two-year liberal arts college in Madisonville, Tenn., on Friday unveiled five brand-new Smart Cars with customized wraps that look like tiger cub. Officials in the admissions and advancement departments will drive the cars on college business.
The eye-catching two-seat minicars are meant to draw attention -- and save money on gas.
"Not only are the Smart Cars saving us a lot of money in transportation costs, they are also acting as rolling billboards, saving us money in advertising expenses as well," Dr. Bill Back, Hiwassee College vice president of institutional advancement, said in a news release.
"We were spending over $40,000 per year in mileage reimbursement to our staff who drive their personal vehicles for school-related business," he said. "One of our goals for this upcoming year is to expand our footprint to reach even more potential students and donors. Expanding our footprint would have meant an even greater cost, but our Smart Cars will allow us to do this and at the same time, save us over $20,000 per year."
The unique design of the Smart Car has received much attention in the United States since its launch in April of 2008.
It holds the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The main structure of the car is a stiff structure called a Tridion Safety Cell, which is designed to activate the crumple zones of a colliding vehicle.
This design creates a "very strong safety cell" around the passengers, according to the manufacturer.
"We could not be more pleased with our new Smart Cars," Back said. "It is a ... smart choice for Hiwassee College."
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.