In what could be seen as a rather desperate move to keep the troubled Smart brand alive and kicking in the United States, parent company Mercedes-Benz has announced that it has teamed up with Nissan to launch a Toyota Yaris-sized five-door hatchback on the market in the fourth quarter of 2011.
"The new vehicle will expand smart USA's product lineup, offering five-seat capacity while maintaining the core principles of efficiency and conservation," said Smart USA President Jill Lajdziak.
The company said the B-segment car is to be sold solely in the United States and will be based on vehicle architecture from Nissan, without getting into any more details. However, the maker of the tiny Fortwo released two teaser sketches of the car, clearly depicting Nissan's latest Micra supermini with a Smart-like fascia, headlights, tail lamps and detailing.
The sketches are rather crudely done (for official material), and not to mention a tad deceiving as the Micra has been squashed down to create the illusion of a sportier shaped model. You can see what the Micra looks like in our gallery below.
Roger Penske, Chairman of the Penske Automotive Group, which is the brand's exclusive distributor in the States said: "We are faced with continuing customer demand for a smart car with more seating capacity. Sales and service of the five seater will be carried out exclusively by our approximately 75 smart dealerships in the United States. Together with Nissan, we will bring to market a fully equipped small car for our customers and dealers in the USA. It will fit in well with the smart brand."
The new Nissan-based Smart model is part of a broader strategic cooperation between Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Group that was revealed in April. Under the agreement, the two groups also plan to co-develop a new platform that will be used on the successors to the Smart Fortwo and the Renault Twingo. You can read more about the deal in our previous post here.
_______________________NISSAN MICRA GALLERY_______________________