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Smart For-us city ute

The Koreans starred, the Japanese mounted a comeback, and One Ford hit the headlines with an extended family of Focus-based newcomers that it is certain to make a big hit in Australia. But it was one car and the commitment of its company chief that made the most impact as America fought back on the opening day of the 2011 North American International Motor Show.

After all, last April 1, BMW circulated information about a pick-up. Well, this isn't April and this is no April Fool's Day joke; Smart is launching an urban pick-up called the "for-us". 

Smart boss Annette Winkler described it at the Detroit motor show as "the perfect pick-up for the city". 

The awkward two-seater features a tray in the rear that fits two bicycles and the show car had a Smart ebike in the back which is an electric bike. 

The 55kW/130Nm three-cylinder engine has been made in a joint venture with Mitsubishi. Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy says "it's not for us", but suggests there are some new four-seater products being developed with Nissan and Renault that would be "much more suitable".

They are not expected until 2014. "We continue to support Smart because people love it," "We're maintaining our interest in the brand to take it out of the hands of the grey importers. 

"We're also investigating bringing in the second generation of the electric Smart, but only in small numbers; half a dozen or so just to trial."