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With sales of its aging city car circling the toilet, Roger Penske’s Smart USA has reached a deal with Nissan to sell a Smart-branded version of a Nissan-developed four-door B-segment car, likely the Versa. Though Penske’s organization apparently pushed for and announced the deal, and the model will be exclusive to the US, the Detroit News calls the move “part of the growing cooperation between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG.” Penske says
We are proud to be a partner with both Daimler and Nissan, two companies focused on bringing high-quality, fuel-efficient products to the U.S. market
With the five-seat, American-size Smart coming from Nissan, the forthcoming Smart ForFour (which Daimler is developing in partnership with Renault) seems unlikely to make a stateside appearance. This despite considerable cost reductions compared to previous Smart models by co-developing with Renault, creating a modular platform with common engines
, and building the ForFour in Eastern Europe. After all, you can can work all you want to make a make a European car cheaper, but rebadging a Mexico-built Japanese model will always be cheaper. Besides, Americans won’t know the difference… right?