Smart will not make another generation of the Roadster, but a Smart SUV might be in the cards. According to Smart's CEO, Annette Winkler, "The Roadster isn't a profitable business case. Everybody is keen on the car, but nobody wants to pay the bill." What Car? states that Smart is likely planning a baby SUV to take on the Nissan Juke and its ilk. But for the immediate future, Winkler says Smart "must focus on how we can maximize potential of the Fortwo and Forfour. That is strategy number one."
The internets are abuzz with word that the recent partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Renault may allow the the long dead Smart Roadster to be revived. The folks at Autocar report that a source within Smart says the company has had its eyes on bringing the roadster back to market for awhile now. Evidently, the purveyor of pint-sized transportation is interested in branching out from its city car roots – something that the recent partnership with Renault just might facilitate. Renault has
smart used to have a model called the Roadster (and the Roadster coupé), which wasn't too much of a commercial success. The model wasn't ugly and had decent enough performance with its small 3-cyl engine thanks to its low weight. Still, smart only sold a little more than 43,000 units in the two years (2003-2005) that it was available.
Project Kimber, the U.K. group that purchased the manufacturing rights to the Smart Roadster, announced this week that it will locate its production facility in Wales. After relocating the Roadster's production line from the Smart factory to Kimber's as yet unnamed site in Wales, the group plan to begin production by mid-2007.
Well, the rumor is now reality - DaimlerChrysler has agreed in principle to sell the rights to the Smart roadster to the British 'Project Kimber' consortium headed by David James. James' group has apparently signed a memorandum of understanding with DaimlerChrysler that covers both the rights to produce the roadster and DaimlerChrysler's production equipment for the car.
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