Think of Smart cars and your mind automatically conjures a two-door box, like the one we test drove earlier this week.
While the Smart car - owned by Daimler, parent company of Mercedes Benz - does have 2015 Fortwo and Forfour vehicles in the works, General Manager of Smart USA Mark Webster told us that choice in the U.S. will stay on the smaller side for the foreseeable future.
"We will offer a four-seat, four-door [model], but we won't have that here," Webster said.
He wouldn't elaborate further, however he noted that the company will have a new two-door model for the U.S. in August 2015. The company is also working on "some other derivatives," but again, no further explanation.
The Forfour score
In 2004, a joint Mitsubishi and Daimler venture launched a four/five-door, four-seat car known as the Smart Forfour. Production stopped in 2006 following lackluster sales, and the car was never brought to the U.S.
From what we've gathered, the Forfour has had numerous starts and stops since. However, a 2015 Forfour is currently in development with Renault-Nissan, and it will be available in an electric and gas models.
According to a recent Autocar report, the second-gen Forfour is expected to be similar in style to the company's Forstars concept car. It will be a rear-drive vehicle, with an expected 90hps and a more powerful version of the next-gen Fortwo's 85PS and 105PS turbocharged engines.
Tech to come?
Nothing is set in stone about the upcoming models (there's even word Smart is developing a crossover), but according to a late 2012 report from Autoexpress, the redesigned interior of the new Fortwo will feature a removable tablet-style screen. This will supposedly be capable of functioning as either a sat-nav unit or trip computer.
We can't imagine, if the tablet-like screen proves true, Smart leaving it out of the upcoming Forfour and other models, especially since its current offerings don't flex a ton of tech muscle.
Smart is expected to preview the second-gen Forfour and the next Fortwo in concept form during the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, and it's there that we should get a better idea of what features will be in the new models.
But as for the U.S., Webster said that the two-door style is part of the company's brand, filling the micro-car segment. He pointed to stats that of the 131 million members of the U.S. workforce, about 100.3 million of them drive to work alone. About 80 percent of those drives are less than 40 miles round trip.
"There's all that wasted space," he said. "There's almost 300 million empty seats. When you're talking about the world becoming more of a sharing economy, I think we're minimizing the resources that are being use."
- Like Google Glass? Good for you...just be warned the UK gov. thinks they're unsafe for driving.