The Smart brand with its eye catching ForTwo had strong sales numbers for awhile, but the cute appeal appears to have worn off and the brand is searching for sales now. What the brand needs is a replacement minicar, one that outdoes the current one. In the small car class there few better to turn to for help than Renault/Nissan and that is exactly what Smart has done.
Daimler has signed a deal with Renault/Nissan that will reportedly have the Renault/Nissan group working on the next generation Smart minicars due out in 2014. In return, Renault/Nissan will be able to use the finalized design for some yet to be named models within their lineups.
It is also being reported that Daimler's wish to retain the rear engine, rear wheel drive layout of the current ForTwo, will be reluctantly maintained by Renault. Another carryover will likely be the easily interchangeable body panels and the vehicles current safety cage design.
Also reported to be in the works is an electric powered Smart, a 1.3 liter gasoline powered version, and an uprated 1.5 liter gasoline powered version. In addition, there is a possibility of a lengthened wheelbase model called the Forfour and a more spacious taller version called the Formore.
Renault/Nissan's early expertise in electric vehicle will likely help the SmartED get past some of the complaints posted by several reviewers. This partnership clearly appears to be a good move for the Smart brand.
Source: Automobile Magazine