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?
Two decades have elapsed since rocks and trees went on TV to announce the birth of a new, proudly Japanese luxury car brand from Nissan. Infiniti somehow survived that car-free campaign and the (baker’s) dozen years of wandering in the desert that followed to finally enjoy some success with the 2003 G35. Sales might be off lately, but in light of the brand’s first 13 years and the entire industry’s last few years the mere act of survival merits a celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with special editions of the model that saved the brand (and that is currently most in need of a bump), recently renamed G37 to reflect an enlarged V6. Of course, some special editions are more special than others. Just how special is the G37 Anniversary Edition?
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Years ago, I found myself killing time in a London wine bar. An English gentleman and I were busy amusing ourselves with fine wine and, um, English food when a pair of extremely attractive unattached ladies strolled into the bar. Uninhibited by the best Bordeaux, we enticed these French beauties to join us at the bar. The women eventually escaped our charms to establish base camp at their own table. I continued to stare longingly at our lost companions– until one of them stretched her arms above her head to reveal unshaven underarms. The Nissan Versa was like that.