Smart Roadster looks to live again - in Wales

DaimlerChrysler's Smart roadster and coupe may live again, with news that a consortium is scouting sites in South Wales to make re-branded versions of the discontinued car.

Although the car giant never made a profit with any of the quirky two seat cars since their launch in 1998 that hasn't stopped the Project Kimber consortium led by "company doctor" Lord James thinking they can do better.

The decision, which ends months of speculation, was made by Project Kimber in consultation with its prospective investors and with support from the Welsh Assembly Government's International Business Wales team. Project Kimber is now looking at a number of suitable sites in South Wales.

Today's announcement follows a detailed study by Project Kimber into a number of locations, including sites in the UK's West Midlands and in the German States of Saxony and Thüringen.

A series of meetings between Project Kimber, smart GmbH and its parent company, DaimlerChrysler, are under way to provide firm contracts to replace the Memorandum of Understanding signed in February.

Discussions with potential investors in the UK and North America are at an advanced stage. If these talks proceed according to plan, production is expected to commence around mid-2007 with an initial first 12 months' volume of 8000 units. There is no word as yet as to how many production jobs might be created by the project.