Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tiny Smart car to get redesign -- but not until 2014

2012 Renault Twingo Review 585x389 2012 Renault Twingo Review
The Smart ForTwo, the smallest car for sale in the U.S. and one of the older models in the market, will finally get a redesign, Automotive News reports.

Just one problem: The new one won't show up until 2014. Until then, Mercedes-Benz, which took over U.S. distribution of its Smart in July, will have to make do.

Daimler, Mercedes' German parent, is going to develop the next two-seat Smart in conjunction with Renault, which has to find a replacement for its own tiny car, the Twingo [shown above]. Renault is a French company and the Smart is built at a plant in France.

The Smart is an ingeniously engineered little car that has gone basically unchanged for more than a decade. Before it was the Smart car, it was the Swatch car, named for the Swiss watchmaker. It has been imported into the U.S. for about three years through Penske Automotive, and now Mercedes. Mercedes has launched the first national ad campaign for the car. Lately, it has been getting more competition, too. Toyota is introducing the Scion iQ, and the Fiat 500, Mini Cooper and others also compete in the smallest-car segment.

Smart is also hinting at a new four-seat model, which won't show up until 2015. Smart made a four-seater previously, but killed it due to slow sales. Penske had one in the works in a deal with Nissan, but killed it when Mercedes took over the brand.

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