Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of German carmaker Daimler AG, is confident that the all-new Smart ForFour minicar will be successful and will help the brand post its first profit. He remarked that the ForFour is an extended ForTwo, having the attributes of the latter like wider interior relative to length and a rear-mounted engine.
Annette Winkler, chief of the Smart brand, described the ForFour as “the station wagon version of the ForTwo.” Smart rolled out the ForTwo in 1997 and the vehicle was an instant success being as the only two-seat microcar available in the market.
The original ForFour, however, failed to claim similar success. After its launch in 2004, the ForFour was discontinued in June 2006 with just 133,000 units sold. Daimler co-developed the all-new ForFour with Renault.
In fact, it shares many parts with the new third-generation Renault Twingo. Both the ForFour and Twingo are bound to be produced on the same platform at Renault's Novo Mesto plant in Slovenia.
Although the two vehicles share several parts, Zetsche said the ForFour will be “a true Smart” offered at a competitive price and represents a unique selling proposition that customers “cannot get from competitors.”
He remarked that the first-generation ForFour didn’t have proper Smart genes, saying that the old and new models had nothing in common, save for some styling cues.
According to Zetsche, he is confident that the ForFour production is a feasible plan bound for proper execution. Smart is set to unveil the second-generation ForFour and third-generation ForTwo this summer, with sales commencing in Europe this autumn. [source: automotive news - sub. required]