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DaimlerChrylser To Bring Next-Gen Smart Car to US in 1Q 2008

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.



You think ZAP will get any result from their lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler?

Bud Johns

These make great city commute cars.......imagine a scaled down prius drivetrain in one of these.


I wonder if Americans, even urban dwellers, are ready for a vehicle this small...

Sam Houston

I want to buy one.... but... I am scared everyone will think I am a fruit if they see me in it.


^ Maybe they will. But, you could always prowel for cute girls interested in something different. Driving one of those with a hottie in the passenger seat couldn't hurt...


A freind of mine bought one ... loves it.


Lots of these in Vancouver, BC. They don't make sense to me - 2 seats and ordinary gas mileage - nothing practical about them - some people just like the look.


The diesel versions apparently can deliver extraordinary


I'd be interested in a coupe version of the Smart Roadster. Lighter than a Lotus Elise...just give it a tiny bit more power than it comes with stock.

Bike Commuter Dude

Buy a motorcycle with a fairing and a rain coat and you have the same thing. Better fuel consumption, and no body will mistake you for a "fruit". Except if you wear a leather vest without a shirt.
The principle advantages to both bikes and the Smart vehicles is their ease of parking ability in very tight urban environments. Bicycles are even better, providing you live in a city where bike racks are availiable.

Rafael Seidl

Bud Johns -

smart showed a hybrid concept car at last year's Frankfurt trade show:


I would expect the new smart to feature a higher power rating than the current one, and also to be a little bigger. That's what usually happens when an existing car is revised.

It will be interesting to see what the new design looks like, since looks are a key selling feature. IMHO, the crosstown looks a lot worse than the production model, but that's a matter of personal preference. Also, Europeans and Americans have different aesthetic sensibilities.

The current model is less practical than a Toyota Yaris or similar, and more expensive. Even at $15k, the new fortwo will hardly be a steal.


let's hope it has got the next generation smart will get a better powertrain cause the acutal one is junk in addition the car feels cheap, not really like a daimlerchyrsler car also engineered by mercedes guys


Ordinary fuel economy? Huh?

I can get 105 mpg US with my smart CDI (diesel)

There is nothing ordinary about this car.


Heck of a lot better than a bicycle or motorcycle if you're driving in typical midwestern USA weather. Maybe they need to set up a marketing agreement with those new urban condos & apartments that are always lacking good parking spaces. Could squeeze a lot more of these into a parking garage.


I'll definitely buy one if I can run it on a biofuel (biodiesel or E85). Anyone wanna start a petition?


Why is a car this small not completely electric?

Bob Tasa

Is this the LiIon model like Hybrid Technologies has?
Or a ICE model. It doesnt say.

Sid Hoffman

Looking at the greenhybrid mileage database, it appears the average Smart owner is getting around 50-65mpg or so. That's great, but it's not tremendously better than the far more roomy Prius which runs on gasoline, which is cheaper in many parts of north america than diesel anyway. The 2009 Prius is promising much better FE than the current Prius which will likely again make the Smart look irrelevant.

Bud Johns

Sid Hoffman, right you are about the Prius, I own one. But if they downsized a prius drive consideraby and put it in a car like this, it would be a terrific city car with stunning mileage. No, I not trading in my Prius for anything...by the way the next gen Prius is the 2008 model year. And Rafael, right you are again, a Yaris would be the best economy car for the buck right now. I just think if Toyota wanted to build a two seat with hybrid synergy drive, it would be great for a number of city duties.


The Smart car is already available in the USA. I've seen them on the road and for sale at the place where I buy my biodiesel. Pricey though.

See http://www.thegreencarco.com/

allen zheng

Remember the Cooper mini?
The small size may also appeal to those who find it hard to find parking spots, or have unusable parking spots unused due to the proximity of a driveway or/and water hydrant or/and curb to one another. Another would be a currently unusably short parking driveway, like in front of many converted homes/garages around my neighborhood.

allen zheng

By the way the Jesse James, the guy from "Monster Garage", owns one the last time I checked.
___How far can DaimlerChrysler get the cost of this car down to? If they could reduce the price per unit for the base model to $9,000-11,000 then we might have something huge.

Sid Hoffman

"Remember" the Mini Cooper? They already sell them again, and they're quite popular actually. They're expensive as all getout, with the top of the line John Works Cooper S with all the options running about $30,000, but at least the base models are comparable to a loaded Civic.

I think it's HILLARIOUS that anyone would imply they build the Prius on the Yaris platform. HELLO?! The 1st gen Prius was built on the Yaris platform! They've been there, done that, and it didn't sell as well as a larger vehicle which by the way gets slightly better fuel economy anyway. If you want broad appeal (as opposed to limited appeal) you need a 4-door, 4-seat vehicle.

Even just the number of doors is a huge factor: See Honda Civic. You could get it in sedan or coupe/hatchback form for the last 20-25 years or so and the sedan has always been the biggest seller. The Insight sold about 600 cars last year compared to 100,000 Prius, even though the average Prius owner probably very rarely carried more than one other person with them. Buyers want sedans.


Considering smart drivers of Smart cars won't venture onto the hiway in a SUV dominated world, this would be a good all-electric car with an optional serial plugin hybrid.

g bush

its no problem to drive the smart on the hiway, don't think just cos its small its not safe i saw some video of the early crah tests it was a smart in a head on crash with a large merc both cars doing about 40mph, both drivers were fine and walked away
when it was first proposed by the swiss watch maker swatch it was to be an all electric but they then changed to ICE, pitty
an american company will be selling converted smarts with LI batterys soon, they will prob be expensive, but i guess will sell like hot cakes

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