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Project Kimber signs retail group

The consortium that’s buying the axed Roadster and Roadster Coupé from Smart has done a deal with a major UK dealer group to sell the two cars.

The news came as the Project Kimber team revealed first pictures of the redesigned vehicles and announced they will be badged as the AC Ace.

A spokesman wouldn’t be drawn on who will market the car, but told AM: “The pair will be sold through a dealer network. We have an agreement with an organization that will represent us in the UK and also help us in Europe.”

If all goes to plan, production will begin towards the middle of next year – possibly at a site in Wales – with a target of shifting 7,000 units in the first 12 months.

The spokesman revealed salesmen could ultimately get their hands on other vehicles, admitting: “It’s too early to talk about the longer term, but this is not going to be a one-model strategy. The plan is to develop the brand. Under the licensing agreement reached with AC, other iconic names from the company’s archives can be made available.”

Both Roadster and Coupé models will be launched with prices ranging from £12,000 to £19,000. Power will come from the same Mitsubishi-sourced 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that’s in the MkII Smart ForTwo, which goes on sale in the spring.

Insiders say there will be three trim levels, and there’s also talk of alternative powertrains such as hybrids.

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