While the first Smart ForTwo generation did not make it to U.S., the second one did until 2014, and it is now time for the new and the 3rd Smart generation to conquer the United States of (Auto) America.
If the previous smart ForTwo models were more on the European style and design, this one seems to have been built with the U.S. customers in mind. The 2016 model will have bigger width, new transmission choices and improved styling.
Heiko Schmidt, lead product planner for Daimler’s Smart unit, stated for Automotive News at the U.S. press launch for the ForTwo model that “the U.S. has always been in the top five markets for Smart. It’s contributing massively to the overall sales goal that Smart has.”
However, the Smart execs expressed that the ForTwo model is not targeting every U.S. market, but rather the urban area where drivers are looking for easy parketing and a simple maneuvering of the car as the Smart ForTwo is 4.5 feet shorter than a Ford Fiesta hatchback.
The new model will no longer have the unpopular five-speed automated manual transmission, but a five speed-manual or an optional six-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DCT), which was made by Getrag. The manual was almost not implemented on the U.S. 2016 model, but it ended up helping the car have a lower starting price, which would attract more customers, as the model’s sale price point is at $15,400 and the DCT choice comes for another $990.
The 2016 ForTwo will also be 4 inches wider than its predecessor and less than ¼ of an inch longer. Schmidt did admit that the first-gen Smart was not really focused on comfort for its drivers, as this one is going to be.
Smart did not reveal its sales expectations for the third-generation ForTwo, but the company hopes it will surpass the outgoing model, which topped at 25,000 sales in 2008, and was followed by a drop in sales in 2010-2011 and stabilized later on at 10,000 a year.
By Gabriela Florea