Smart Has A Clever Plan To Make A Comeback

Rumor / 6 Comments

But will America even be interested?

Last year, Daimler-owned Smart finally shuttered operations in North America, which didn't come as a huge surprise having sold a little over 1,200 vehicles in 2018. In Europe, however, the city car brand is still doing relatively well but, more importantly, it has begun a transition to becoming an EV-only brand. Also in 2019, China's Geely purchased half of Smart from Daimler. Turns out there's a big market for tiny EVs in crowded Chinese cities.

But now it appears Smart is about to enter the SUV business. Yes, seriously.

Italian language website Motori Online has learned this new SUV will be roughly the size of a four-door Mini Hardtop, making it quite a bit larger than the Smart ForTwo previously sold in the US and elsewhere.

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What's more, the so far unnamed SUV will ride on its own unique platform that Geely helped develop. And yes, it will be all-electric with power supposedly coming from a 78-kWh lithium-ion battery with a potential maximum range of 250 miles or so. How it'll be designed remains unknown. For example, will it bear a stronger resemblance towards traditional SUVs and crossovers, or will it be nothing more than a stretched Smart ForTwo with an increased ride height? What about off-roading capabilities?

The report claims FWD, AWD, and RWD configurations are all possible. Assuming all goes to plan, the new tiny EV SUV will debut in 2022 as a 2023 model. More than likely, it'll be sold in Europe and China but the chances of it coming to the US are slim.

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However, it shouldn't be ruled out entirely. BMW's Mini has just launched its first-ever all-electric model, the Mini Cooper SE, and there are plans to expand electrification to additional models, including future SUV crossovers. Assuming the report is accurate regarding the Smart SUV's size, it has the potential of becoming a Mini competitor.

It's highly unlikely it'd ever be sold as a Mercedes because it's too small and not exclusive enough to fit in with the luxury brand's existing lineup. We highly doubt Daimler will reopen Smart in the US solely for one vehicle, but never say never.

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