DaimlerChrysler AG plays to both extremes at the 2007 North American International Auto Show by taking the wraps off a 4-door Mercedes-Benz convertible and the Smart Fortwo minicar.
The Fortwo will arrive in U.S. showrooms during first-quarter 2008, the auto maker says in a statement. The second generation of a car launched in Europe eight years ago, it promises greater comfort, more agility and additional safety features, DaimlerChrysler says.
Original plans called for a 2006 U.S. market introduction, but heavy losses at Smart prompted a restructuring initiative that caused a delay. The auto maker also killed production of the 4-passenger Forfour.
The Fortwoâ€™s unveiling next month in Detroit will mark the first time it has been shown in the U.S. The first-generation vehicle currently is on sale in Canada and Europe.
To date, the auto maker lays claim to more than 770,000 sales.
Rogerâ€™s United Auto Group will distribute the car in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz uses the Detroit show to unveil the Concept Ocean Drive 4-door convertible. Based on the 12-cyl. Mercedes-Benz S600, it is â€śnot just a pure design exercise,â€ť the auto maker says in a statement.
Among its practical innovations is â€śAirscarf,â€ť a neck-level heating system that can extend the top-down season.
The Ocean Driveâ€™s debut will mark the second consecutive year Detroit has hosted a 4-door convertible unveiling. American Specialty Cars Inc. created a stir last year with its ragtop treatment of a300.
The last U.S. production-model 4-door convertible was the Lincoln, which was discontinued in 1967.