Thursday 28 August 2008

Smart ForTwo maybe built in USA (U.S)

The once financially broken Smart is now struggling to keep up with demand for its iconic ForTwo city-car, with managers considering building a second plant and adding more models. German media is reporting that a second production facility in either the U.S or Asia could be on the cards as the current facility in Hambach, France, is nearing capacity.

Additionally, managers at Smart are considering a new model with more seats than the current ForTwo. Smart’s COO Rainer Schm├╝ckle hinted at the possibility of expanding the lineup back in January, and it appears that those statements were not just in passing, with several company sources mentioning a new model is under consideration.

The insiders revealed that the new model would likely be a four-seater, and would arrive together with the introduction of the next-generation ForTwo in 2012. Smart’s resurgence in popularity has been fueled by the growing trend towards smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, especially in the U.S, where soaring demand has caused the official distributor, Penske Automotive Group, to revise its 2008 sales forecast. Penske now expects to sell between 24,000 and 27,500 ForTwos by the end of the year, up from 20,000 predicted original, and believes that up to 32,000 sales could be made next year if enough vehicles are supplied for the U.S market.

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