|The current smart fortwo.|
DaimlerChrysler will bring the successor to the smart fortwo to the US market in 1Q 2008, according to Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management DaimlerChrysler AG. The new smart will be distributed by international automotive retailer UnitedAuto Group (UAG), which will establish between 30 and 50 smart dealerships initially.
The successor to the smart fortwo will be available in US markets in three models. These will not initially include the diesel, although both diesel and a micro-hybrid are potential future products, according to UAG Chairman Roger Penske.
Following the success of the smart fortwo in Europe with more than 750,000 attracted customers and the increasing demand for affordable and fuel efficient small cars in the USA, we are now bringing this new kind of mobility to US cities. The time has never been better for this—and I am convinced that the smart fortwo as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle, as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris.—Dieter Zetsche
The announcement was expected, although DaimlerChrysler reportedly had considered cancelling the smart line. Earlier this year, DaimlerChrysler absorbed the smart organization into the Mercedes group, and decided to focus on the smart fortwo car, cancelling the planned production of the smart forfour. (Earlier post.)
DaimlerChrysler has sold 750,000 smart cars worldwide since their introduction in 1998. In Canada, 4,000 smarts were sold last year—a major increase above the target of 1,500 the company had set.
Pricing is not established, although Penske said he expects to sell the car below $15,000.
UnitedAuto Group is the second-largest auto dealer in the US and is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. UAG operates 296 retail automotive franchises, representing 40 different brands, and 27 collision repair centers.