More than one quarter of all SMARTS sold last year went to Italy and in Rome alone, 30,000 of them have been registered since the company started sales in 1998.


Smart products have been embraced by the Italians more than anybody else in Europe according to the company’s head of marketing and sales Phillip Schiemer.


“In 2003 we sold 32,600 Smart models in Italy and that was more than a quarter of our record sales of 124,700.”


The City Coupe, now to be called the ForTwo, and the roadster will now be joined by the company’s first four-seater, the Forfour, which was launched to the media last week in Rome.


Smart will make 50,000 Forfours this year at NedCar factory in The Netherlands in conjunction with Mitsubishi Motors and 80,000 in 2005.


Schiemer admitted that Smart’s breakeven plan for 2004 after the introduction of the Forfour would not happen and it now expects to make its first profit in 2006 after the Formore SUV, Smart’s first model for the US, has entered the market.


In the UK, Smart sales of the two-seater A segment cars have grown from 956 units in 2000 to 8,566 in 2003.


Smart UK head Jeremy Simpson said he thought 10% of current two-seat Smart owners would become customers of the new five door Forfour.