Smart is set for a major product overhaul that will give it a successor to the discontinued Forfour supermini.
Petrol, diesel, hybrid and all-electric powertrains are all part of the plan for both this car and the all-new Fortwo, as Smart prepares to take on BMW’s Project i city car.
In a move that its chairman, Dieter Zetsche, says will provide Smart with financial stability and the scope for growth, parent firm Daimler will jointly develop the third-gen Fortwo (due in 2012) and the new Forfour (planned for 2014) in partnership with Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan.
The first car to hail from the partnership will be a Fortwo replacement. The compact two-seater, set for launch in coupé guise in 2012, will use a new modular platform that is in the final stages of development at Mercedes-Benz’s R&D centre in Sindelfingen, Germany.
It will be followed by a new Renault city car based on the same platform and produced alongside the Fortwo at Smart’s existing factory in Hambach, France.
As with today’s model, the new Fortwo and its Renault sibling will continue with a rear-engined/rear-drive layout and exposed ‘tridion’ safety cell.
Two years after the new Fortwo, Smart will again try to muscle its way into Europe’s largest market segment with a successor to the four-door Forfour. It will use a lengthened version of the Fortwo platform, complete with its rear-engined/rear-drive layout. It will share this platform with Renault’s next Twingo and will be built alongside it at Renault’s factory at Novo Mesto, Slovenia.