Mercedes-Benz will soon be working with Renault under a deal that would provide its Smart division with a contemporary front-engined, front-wheel-drive platform as the basis for a frugal new Forfour model, which is due out in 2013.
The new Smart will sit on a lightly modified version of the Renault Twingo's underpinnings, complete with a 2370mm wheelbase.
A Mercedes-Benz official told Autocar that the company is seeking to diverge into other potentially lucrative market segments, not only in Europe but also on a worldwide basis.
From its name, we could already calculate that the car will seat up to 4 adults in a unitary steel body that is expected to stretch to no more than 3600mm in length, 1700 in width and 1500mm in height.
As with the first-gen Forfour, the second model will also have a five-door hatchback design. It's too early to say if the deal between Mercedes-Benz and Renault will extend to engines and gearboxes.
Reports from the German media have said that the two firms are considering at deep integration in a move aimed at extracting the sort of economies of scale achieved by rival car makers PSA (Citroen-Peugeot) and Toyota with their similarly sized C1, 106 and Aygo.