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smart USA and Nissan to Collaborate on New Gasoline-Powered B-Segment Vehicle for the US Market

Sketch of the proposed new vehicle. Click to enlarge.

smart USA Distributor LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. for collaboration on a new vehicle for sale in the United States.

Pursuant to the terms of the MOU, smart USA would obtain the rights to procure and distribute a five-door, gasoline-powered, B-segment vehicle from Nissan for sale through the smart USA retail dealership network in the United States. The new vehicle is expected to be available for retail sale in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The new vehicle will expand smart USA’s product lineup, offering five-seat capacity while maintaining the core principles of efficiency and conservation.

—smart USA President Jill Lajdziak said, "

In September, smart USA posted sales of 422 units, down 48.2% by volume, year-on-year. Sales for the first 9 months of 2010 were 12,421 units, down 61.5% from the same period in 2009. smart USA has begun showcasing the smart fortwo electric drive as it prepares to begin delivering a test fleet of 250 electric vehicles with early adopters of electric drive technology across the United States beginning this fall.

Further details of the non-binding MOU with Nissan are not being released at this time. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including the completion of definitive agreements.

smart USA Distributor LLC, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is the exclusive distributor of the smart fortwo and related parts in the United States and Puerto Rico and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. smart USA supports approximately 75 smart retail centers in the United States and Puerto Rico. smart and fortwo are registered trademarks of Daimler AG.

In April, the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG announced a broad strategic cooperation that also involves equity exchanges that result in giving the Renault-Nissan Alliance a 3.1% stake in Daimler and Daimler a 3.1% stake in Renault and a 3.1% stake in Nissan. (Earlier post.)

The new partners have begun specific projects in the areas of a new common architecture for small vehicles; engines; and light commercial vehicles. In addition to the immediate projects, partners will explore other potential areas of collaboration, including opportunities to co-develop technologies relating to electric vehicles and batteries.



This is really baffling to me - there is so much competition in the gasoline powered small car market already that it would seem impossible for a new competitor to turn a profit. In addition, making it more difficult, is the complex arrangement involving the different players - Smart, Nissan, Penske, and Diamler.


It certainly looks better than the Smart four two. Will it be as frugal on gas?


Penske is in the OIL business. There is the entire reasoning behind this flighty investment.


Imagine a car company making FFVs and selling the M85. Make money on the car and make money on the fuel. With 100 billion gallons per year and $1 per gallon profit, they could make an extra $100 billion dollars each year.


It certainly looks better than the Smart four two. Will it be as frugal on gas?

Don't you mean the Smartforfour? This car's a five-seat five-door.


I would say that it looks better than both.

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