Smart made a splash with its world debut at the 2012 Detroit auto show: its For-Us concept car provides a vision of the Smart as an American icon, a pick-up.
The diminutive truck – just 3547mm long – is longer than a Fortwo, and is supposed to be based on the running gear of the next-gen Smart Forfour, aka the new Renault Twingo.
So if the For-Us doesn’t look so much like a Smart any more, from the front at least, that’s why. A new front-engined architecture is said to underpin this baby pick-up.
Smart For-Us: the lowdown
Calling it front-engined is a bit of a misnomer; the For-Us is electric, and the 55kW electric motor is claimed to provide decent acceleration.
Smart quotes a top speed of around 75mph; battery capacity is put at 17.6kWh. It’s the same running gear you’ll find in the Smart Fortwo ED coming in spring 2012.
This remains a two-seater, the loadbay where you’d find a petrol engine in the regular Fortwo given over to a flatbed.
This Smart concept car packs a pair of electric scooters in to the loadbay; they dock to the car, allowing the two-wheelers to be charged up and ready to use when you reach the part of the city that even a Smart can’t reach.
After a long, long period of very little new-model activity, Smart is finally about to start a product offensive. While no pick-up truck is in train quite yet, the cooperation with Renault will soon produce a new Forfour and the Fortwo is in line for further development too.
If downsizing is as rife as it appears, it’s a good time to offer more small cars.