Smart will add this five-door model to its line-up within the next 15 months – but the Forfour replacement will only be available in the US.
Smart has not offered a five-door model since 2007 when the Forfour was discontinued; the new US model is a stop-gap for that market until an all-new Forfour arrives in 2014.
The new hatchback – revealed in these two official sketches - is the first major product collaboration to emerge from Smart parent firm Daimler collaboration with Renault-Nissan.
Smart USA has confirmed the five-door supermini will be based on Nissan’s model versatile new V-platform, which also underpins the new Micra and will spawn additional saloon and MPV models.
Smart first launched in the US with its Fortwo in 2008 and, despite promising initial sales, interest in the novel city car has waned. Sales from January to September have fallen 62 per cent on last year’s level to 4779 units.
Dealers and customers have been pushing “for a larger, but Smart-typical car to be fulfilled very soon” and the Nissan tie-up has opened up the opportunity for a larger Smart to be fast-tracked to market.
The Penske Automotive Group operates Smart USA and its chairman Roger Penske believes the new car “will fit in well with the Smart brand”, despite its Nissan roots.
“We are faced with continuing customer demand for a Smart car with more seating capacity,” he said, without revealing any specific details on the new model. An official statement said more details on the model "will be announced at a later date".
Daimler is currently developing a modular rear-engined, rear-drive platform for the next-generation of Smart cars and it will first spawn a new Fortwo in 2012. Two years later, a lengthened version of that platform will be used to underpin an all-new Forfour, as well as the next Renault Twingo.