4 April 2005

Smart has escaped the axe, but DaimlerChrysler has announced a raft of sweeping changes to its struggling brand. The aim is to haul it into profitability after more than eight years of operation.

Key among these measures is the axing of the two-seat Roadster and Roadster-Coupé models. Both cars will cease production at the end of 2005 after just three years on sale. DaimlerChrysler claims this will help Smart reduce fixed costs by up to 30 per cent by the end of 2007.

In further developments, Smart has confirmed its Toyota RAV4-rivalling Formore off-roader, revealed in official sketches last year (right), will not go ahead as planned. Instead, Smart will accelerate the development of the second-generation Fortwo city car, due to be sold in America after a positive response to the existing model at January’s Detroit Motor Show.

Smart also says the revised three-cylinder petrol engine destined for the new Fortwo will be used by other car makers, hinting at a yet-to-be-revealed joint venture. Despite disappointing sales, Smart’s new Forfour will remain in the line-up. However, DC says measures are being taken to help boost the Forfour’s profitability.

In all, Smart hopes to increase earnings by up to $600m (£320m) annually by the end of 2007, achieved by further integrating sales, procurement, after-sales and service into the Mercedes-Benz network. Smart also hopes to boost its coverage by increasing the number of sales outlets in existing Mercedes dealerships by up to 25 per cent.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune