Smart Has No Plans For A Crossover
Last month, Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche suggested that Smart might build a small crossover, an idea the German brand considered as early as 2005, when the ForMore concept was almost shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Now, Smart CEO Annette Winkler denied that the brand plans to expand its lineup with a crossover in the near future.
"We are not planning an SUV," Winkler said at the Automotive News Europe Congress. "But never say never," she added, hinting that a lifted Smart is not completely off the table. On the other hand, when asked whether Smart could build a new Roadster, Winkler said "certainly not," citing too small a market for such a model. Smart build a roadster between 2003 and 2005, halting production after only 43,091 units made.
The brand’s original crossover, based on the ForMore Concept, was cancelled due to Daimler-Chrysler’s financial concerns. At the time, Smart had yet to make a profit after eight years on the market and the ForMore turned out to cost more money to develop than anticipated. The ForMore shared a platform with the C-Class sedan and the GLK-Class crossover (now renamed the GLC), and was supposed to receive a range of four-cylinder and V-6 gasoline and diesel engines.
Continue reading for the full story.
Why it matters
A crossover might not be on Smart’s drawing board for now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a project gain traction by the end of the decade. Of course, now would be a good time for Smart to expand its lineup in that direction, but it appears as if the brand is content with selling the newly redesigned 2015 Smart ForTwo and 2015 Smart ForFour for the time being.
There will come a time when Daimler will want to turn Smart into a more profitable brand. The Germans know a crossover would boost sales dramatically, as it did for all sorts of companies around the world, including Mini, which at one point had only a handful of models in showrooms. With a crossover and maybe a new roadster, Smart would finally have a lineup that covers more than just a niche. This may very well happen in about four to five years.
Read our full review here.
Source: Automotive News