Back in February, after Penske had given up on selling the Smart in the U.S., we said the Smart ForTwo needed “a basic rework, mechanically,” a lower price, and some new product to succeed here. We also said (I’m so Smart) that there was an obvious failure of marketing.
Then we heard zilch about new product, except for the testing of the Smart electric drive (60-mile range), which costs $599 a month to lease. Around the world 1,500 “passionate” early adopters are providing data, 250 of them in the U.S. Guys, the electric Smart isn’t news anymore, even in the New York Times.
Now, yesterday in fact, we hear that the new generation Smart ForTwo (which may share platform or mechanicals with the Renault Twingo) will have gas, diesel or electric power options but won’t be around until 2014. So the company is producing, with Renault’s help, a Forvision electric concept (above), with a lot of plastic and roof-mounted solar panels. Yup, it will be at Frankfurt.