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Concept clue to Smart car

Smart concept: The Tridion4 concept car was shown at the Frankfurt motor show.

The Tridion4 concept car reveals what the main model in the Smart line-up could look like

Smart logo2 Oct 2001

DAIMLERCHRYSLER'S unveiling of the Tridion4 concept car at the recent Frankfurt motor show is the first clue to a new four-seater model that will eventually be the volume-seller in the Smart line-up.

It is also the car DaimlerChrysler Australia hopes will lead the way for the Smart brand in this country, when a production version comes on line in 2004.

But as DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi share the Z-car platform on which the four-seater will be built, a decision has not yet been made as to who will sell the car in Australia.

"Whether the four-seater gets a Mitsubishi badge or a Smart badge or both, that is a headquarters decision and will be made in late 2002 or 2003," Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars managing director Matthias Luehrs said.

Before then we may see the original two-seater Smart City Coupe to get the brand up and running. Both coupe and cabrio versions of the micro car are still being evaluated to see if the Australian market is ready for a city-specific car and if suitable pricing can be achieved.

Sydney and Melbourne are the only locations being considered for the diminutive car at this stage, despite DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Micro Compact Car selling in excess of 100,000 units each year in Europe - where the more concentrated populations make it an attractive proposition.

A final decision is due to be made before the end of the year.

If the Smart range gets the green light, it is unlikely to be sold through a separate dealer network, given the low volumes that are likely.

"We might look at some specific Mercedes-Benz dealers and have a separate showroom - probably a similar strategy to what BMW are doing with the Mini," Mr Luehrs said.

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