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Smart ForFour (2013)

CAR GARAGE | Smart ForFour (2013) | The Smart brand launched in 1998 with the iconic City Coupe, later named ForTwo. The ForFour and Roadster were intended to broaden Smart's Euro-market appeal and turn the company's ledger from red ink to black. (Daimler execs evidently blanched at the idea of American-Benz dealers selling teensy two-passenger mini cars alongside grand S-Class sedans.) Helped by solid U.S. ForTwo sales initially (starting with model-year '08), Smart finally made a small profit, prompting new ideas for additional models to extend the brand's market reach. Assuming Auto car is right, however, the 2013 Smart ForFour would be a front-wheel-drive subcompact of more-conventional design than the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive ForTwo.

The original styling cues ForFour Borrowed from the ForTwo, Including Smart's Tridion Safety Cell, an exposed steel "exoskeleton" - finished in black or silver - and plastic body panels in matching or contrasting colors. (We remember photos of one "rainbow" car with each panel a different color.) The 2013 Smart ForFour Might update this basic look, assuming the visuals can be adapted to the Twingo's orthodox uni body. If nothing else, the new ForFour should cost less to build than the old one (which, Incidentally, was based on the contemporary Euro-market Mitsubishi Colt hatchback, since redesigned).

Informed Speculation must also suffice on the rest of the car, but the US-market 2013 Smart ForFour will almost surely include 15 - or 16-inch wheels, power windows and mirrors, remote power door locks, a sunroof, air conditioning, a fold -flat front-passenger seat, fold-down rear seats, lift gate wiper / washer, a good-quality stereo music-player with plug-ins, and cabin materials somewhat above par for our estimated base price of just under $ 20,000. Ditto heated seats, a navigation system with a wireless cell-phone link, and a slew of "personal-styling" features like Those available for BMW's money-making Mini models.

Though the 2013 Smart ForFour has yet to get the green light, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has said "Certainly it would not hurt" for Smart to have a second models with higher sales potential than the ForTwo. One seems a sure thing: The 2013 Smart ForFour will be critical to the brand's future. After all, Daimler has already lost tons of money on Smart and is loath to lose more now, so the ForFour sales must be a solid hit for the brand to stay in business. With all this, the 2013 Smart ForFour will need to be something special to have a shot at decent sales. For one thing, it does not shape up as a great dollar value Among subcompact cars, due to its Euro-zone and a probable origins Mini-style marketing emphasis on profit-boosting options.

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