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Daimler tie-up with Renault-Nissan to spawn four-seat Smart model

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Daimler tie-up with Renault-Nissan to spawn four-seat Smart model

04/08/2010, 4:36 PMBY DREW JOHNSON

Daimler’s Smart brand has stumbled in the United States since launching in 2008, but the company’s recent partnership with Renault-Nissan promises to give new life to the small car brand. The Renault-Nissan-Daimler alliance will spawn a new four-seat Smart model for the U.S.

Per the terms of the agreement, Renault-Nissan and Daimler will jointly develop a new small car platform. The platform will underpin the next-generation of the Renault Twingo, and will also serve as the basis for two new Smart models.

The new platform will underpin the next Smart ForTwo, but will also serve as the architecture for a new four-seat Smart model. Daimler has yet to confirm if the four-seat model will be sold in the United States, but the prospect seems likely.

Daimler’s Smart brand has faced sagging sales over the last two years or so, largely due to increase competition from cars like the Toyota iQ and its soon-to-be-launched U.S. cousin, the Scion iQ. The Smart brand was met with strong initial demand when it launched in the United States in 2008 – tallying 24,622 sales – but saw its sales slide 41 percent in 2009. That trend is continuing in the early part of 2010, with sales already down 72 percent.



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