Penske Automotive Group (PAG), a chain of car dealerships, reached an agreement with Japan's Nissan Motors (NSANY) to sell a Nissan-made small car in the U.S. market under the Smart brand name.
Penske hopes that adding the Nissan-made car, a four-door hatchback, to the Smart line will boost sales, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company already sells a two-passenger minicar made by Germany's Daimler.
"We are proud to be a partner with both Daimler and Nissan, two companies focused on bringing high-quality, fuel efficient products to the U.S. market," Chairman Roger Penske said.
Smart sales surged when gasoline prices climbed to $4 a gallon. Since fuel prices have dropped, sales have plunged. Penske sold 4,779 Smarts so far this year.
"The market has changed since gas prices are low now and we want to grow the portfolio of Smart vehicles," Jill Lajdziak, president of Penske subsidiary Smart USA Distributor, told The Wall Street Journal.
Penske declined to give a price for the new Smart car, which will be in showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2011.