A smart SUV – Enter the formore…
If you are familiar with the smart car maker GmbH, you know that the idea of introducing an SUV is a revolutionary idea. After all, this was a new car manufacturer that was just getting sound footing in the newly conceived ultra-urban microcar market. This was the market GmbH and smart were destined to conquer. The entire basis for the formation of the company was to conquer the emerging market for these commuter vehicles.
With serious influence from parent company DaimlerChrysler, the formore was designed to be a mini-SUV with seating capacity for 4-5 adults. It was designed to be built on the same frame as the Mercedes Benz C-Class of sedans. Although a radical departure in design and concept from its other existing and planned model offers, this model entry was seen as way for smart to gain firm footing in the US market.
The drive train was slated to be all-wheel and the architecture was to be shared with the Mercedes Benz GLK class. This was the smaller of two classes of SUVs built by Mercedes. The engine and drive train was to have been a 1.8 liter in-line 4-cylinder with an upgrade to a 3.0 liter V6 power plant. A diesel option of the V6 was to be made available in North America. This option was considered one that would be highly desired in the US.
The production of the vehicle was set to be yet another departure for smart. The formore was slated to be built in the DaimlerChrysler plant in Juiz de Fora, Brazil. This was another model that was taken out of the production line-up for the French Smartville factory. This was a designed move to place manufacturing of the formore in what GmbH and DaimlerBenz felt was a better prepared facility for manufacturing of this new model.
During the development, the formore was seen as a key introduction for the microcar company. This was a solid design which would be introduced at the height of the SUV’s popularity in the US. The formore was cutting-edge styling and design for the smart line. It was intended to have classic styling with body panels made of interchangeable plastic panels attached to a steel frame.
It surely could not have been a better time to introduce a flyweight SUV that delivered good performance and still possessed decent fuel economy. This introduction may well have been a precursor for good things to come for GmbH and smart. Although in a different niche than the company was known for carving, the formore may have been the right vehicle to gain market share in North America – at the right time.
Unfortunately, this was not to be. Perhaps, it is the long and winding journey to reaching fruition that was also revealing about the financial problems faced by smart and GmbH. These early smart designs like the formore that should have made it to market – never did. After all the planning and struggles with the other smart models, finances forced the halting of the development and production of the formore in 2005.