Struggling to overcome cripplingly slow sales, Smart USA has brought in an outside design house to work on the new small car the maker is developing with help from Nissan.
Jill Lajdziak, smart USA president, confirmed to TheDetroitBureau.com that Penske Automotive Group, has turned to an outside design partner to work with Nissan on both the exterior and interior design for a four-seat Smart.
Lajdziak declined to identify the designer but confirmed the project is already well along.
The project is particularly unusual because Smart USA is working directly with Nissan on the vehicle, without the participation of the smaller maker’s German parent, Daimler AG.
The 4-seater coming from Smart USA-Nissan is expected to be ready for the market by the end of 2011 or in early 2012, at the earliest.