DaimlerChrysler's Hopes for Smart Revamp

16 November 2006

STUTTGART: DaimlerChrysler has revamped its ultra-compact Smart town car in a last ditch attempt to make money from the marque.

The German-headquartered automaker is pinning its hopes on a revamped version of its ForTwo model, which has languished in the red ink since it hit the roads eight years ago. Analysts estimate - but the company denies - it has notched €3 billion ($3.83bn; £2.03bn) in accumulated losses.

The unveiling of the new, slightly longer and more comfortable runaround was accompanied by much fanfare and DaimlerChrysler ceo Dieter Zetsche's extravagant claim that: "The ForTwo isn't just a car. It's an icon."

Smart's chief Ulrich Walker is confident the brand can be made profitable. Seven hundred production jobs have been cut and two other models in the range have been dumped.

He says: "With our fixed costs down 50%, we'll be able to break even, even in the worst-case scenario."

Data sourced from DW-World (Germany); additional content by WARC staff