Tuesday, September 06, 2005
History of smart: forfour
"The forfour is a new model introduced in 2004. Unlike its little "brother", this is a more conventional car, a real compact-segment hatchback with a roomy interior, and four- or five-seater configuration.
The car is produced at the NedCar factory in the Netherlands in conjunction with Mitsubishi Motors. To save production costs, the smart forfour shares most of its components with the 2003 Mitsubishi Colt, including chassis, suspensions and a new generation of MIVEC petrol engines, three- and four-cylinder, ranging from 1.1 to 1.5 L. The 1.5 L cdi diesel engine, on the contrary, is a three-cylinder Mercedes-Benz engine derived from the four-cylinder of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. A Brabus-prepared sports version is available since 2005."
It seems that the forfour's days are numbered according to BusinessWeek Online, August 15, 2005
"Dark Days at Daimler Jürgen Schrempp leaves behind a Mercedes beset by quality and profit woes. Now, Dieter Zetsche must take drastic measures to save the marriage with Chrysler -- or engineer a breakup"
"Progress may come faster as Zetsche tackles the urgent problems facing the Smart minicar unit, launched with great fanfare by Schrempp in 1998. Smart will cost Mercedes $1.4 billion in restructuring costs this year alone. On top of that, it has lost an estimated $3.6 billion since its launch and will not break even before 2007, racking up $600 million in losses this year. The original two-seater Fortwo never hit the company's sales targets, and subsequent derivatives like the unpopular Forfour sold only 40,000 units last year -- well off Mercedes' planned-for production of 150,000. Without a family of models, it will be hard for the Smart to break even. Still, analysts say Zetsche should pull the plug on the Forfour, even though that would generate a huge earnings hit from compensation payments to suppliers for their investments, or seek a partner."
Read the full article here.