Earlier this year parent company Mercedes-Benz sold a half-share in Smart to Geely, owner of Volvo, with the pair entering into a joint venture to run the city car firm, manufacturing electric cars only from a production base in China.
The first cars built as part of the deal will be launched in 2022, with successors to the Fortwo and Forfour planned, plus a move up in size to launch a B-segment car. Mercedes will lead the design and styling of those future models, with Geely leading the engineering.
“The key point is that sexiness sells, and in that regard I look to those first Minis for inspiration,” said Wagener. “There was a simplicity, a voluptuousness that gave them unique appeal - and the challenge is to get those kind of shapes without growing the car too far or making it look too heavy.
“We are just at the start of the process now with Geely, but we know what direction we want to go in. Smart has grown up as a brand - it is no longer a child - and it can be justified in going in a sexier, sportier direction with its styling”.
Until the new models launch in 2022, current Smart cars will continue to be made at Daimler’s plants at Hambach in France and Novo Mesto in Slovenia. Facelifted Fortwo and Fourfour models were revealed at the Frankfurt motor show, and will be sold from next year as electric-only models.