DaimlerChrysler AG's Smart brand will develop an all-new platform for its new cross/utility vehicle, the first model the brand will sell when it arrives in the U.S. market in 2006.
The CUV has been dubbed Formore and will feature several carryover components from the Forfour platform, but the underpinnings will be unique to the CUV configuration.
The 4-wheel-drive Formore, also to be launched in other key markets in 2006, will be built at DaimlerChrysler's Juiz de Fora, Brazil, plant. Smart says it will sell half the 60,000 units the plant can produce in the U.S.
“We will have a lot from the Smart Forfour (in the new CUV), like whatever heating system, radio system. But, it will not be using the platform of the Smart Forfour,” Smart GmbH CEO Andreas Renschler tells Ward's, adding the Forfour platform, designed for a small car, is “not sufficient enough” for the Formore.
The original Forfour small car, co-developed withMotors Corp., begins production at Mitsubishi's Netherlands Car BV (Nedcar) plant in Holland and goes on sale in Europe this spring.
Smart will show the design of its new CUV in March to some U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealers interested in adding a Smart franchise to their lineup.
Additionally Smart executives have begun approaching other Mercedes dealers to gauge their interest in a Smart franchise. They expect to have between 50 and 60 Smart dealers in the U.S. by the brand's launch, with contracts finalized in 2005.