Teaser for new Smart Fortwo and ForfourEnlarge Photo
It's not uncommon for politicians to ensure moderately bad or embarrassing news is released during major disasters, or in the wake of another major news story.
This way, it's often overlooked by the media, and the impact of the moderately unpopular news is minimized.
The launch of a new Smart Fortwo and Forfour isn't bad news, but Smart did a good job of hiding news of its July debut in a much longer, less interesting press release on sales figures.
Parent company Daimler has announced the two models' official world premieres will be held that month at an event in Berlin.
That's when we'll get our first glimpse of the new two- and four-seat city cars, before their official public debut in the fall--likely at this year's Paris Auto Show.
It's also when European customers should get their hands on the car, along with the Renault Twingo. The French firm has worked with Daimler on the new car's development.
According to AutoEvolution, Renault has been responsible for developing the car's drivetrain--including turbocharged and non-turbo engines, and new manual and double-clutch transmissions--while Smart has tackled the rear-engined platform, a common theme in Smart's vehicles.
The Fortwo is said to be similar to the current version in length (around 106 inches), but features a longer wheelbase and wider track (by a full four inches) for much improved ride and handing characteristics.
It's a little different in profile too, with a visibly separate hood--rather than the current car's "one-box" shape. This is to help it meet tough European pedestrian impact regulations.
Naturally, the Forfour is even longer. Its design is best previewed by the new Renault Twingo launched in Geneva, though Smart's model will feature characteristic Smart styling details.
There will be no diesel model with this generation, but the platform has been designed with electric power in mind--so a fourth-generation Electric Drive is sure to debut at some point.
A new Fortwo can't come too soon. Daimler's sales press release also reveals that only 8,392 Fortwos found homes worldwide in April, and its year-to-date figure of just under 32,000 is 7.4 percent down on last year.
Surprisingly though, sales have actually risen in the U.S, by a full 57 percent.
While the numbers are still tiny overall, it suggests Smart's revitalized models could still find fans when it finally arrives in the U.S.