Smart Doesn't Care About Selling Americans A Four-Seat SmartS

Apart from the lack of speed and inept transmission, probably the biggest thing holding Smart's U.S. sales in the 9-10,000 units per year range is the limited model range. For the $13,000 entry price of a Smart Fortwo, there are several other four-door, four-seat tiny cars on the market. But it turns out Daimler isn't really bothered by that and isn't really into selling a four-seat Smart here.

A bigger Smart that's a spiritual heir to the short-lived Mitsubishi-based ForFour of a decade ago seems like a no-brainer for the company.

But Smart's CEO Annette Winkler told Automotive News that the planned four-door version of the 2015 Smart Fortwo, that's mechanically related to the next Renault Twingo, hasn't been homologated for the U.S. market and is therefore unlikely to go on sale here after it goes on sale in Europe at the end of this year. She thinks the redesigned two-seat Fortwo, which will be bigger, more powerful and (hopefully) shift better, will appeal to enough Americans.

Don't think this is a sign Daimler is about to kill Smart, though. In the same story, Mercedes-Benz USA boss Steve Cannon alluded to the fact he'd have to cancel 92 Smart franchises if they pulled out of the U.S. and he doesn't really want to have to find that money. More seriously, he's happy with Smart staying a niche player.

Chevy has proven it's possible to sell a lot of small cars like the Spark, and the Mitsubishi Mirage, of all things, is selling beyond expectations. Smart could double its sales here with a bigger model, so it seems like a missed opportunity by not even bothering.

Photo: Getty Images