Daimler will soon decide the fate of its city car brand.
While the Smart Fortwo is well known for its diminutive size, inability to withstand strong gusts of wind, and ability to squeeze into any urban parking space, they have not sold well in the United States. Daimler, who owns the city-car company, has already chosen to transition Smart to become a fully electric brand, but the future of the Fortwo remains up in the air. According to Daimler, a decision on Smart’s future in the US market is imminent.
According to Motor Trend, Britta Seeger, a member of the Daimler board of management responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars marketing and sales, revealed that a decision will be made before the summer. Smart has existed since way back in 1998, with the marque not entering the United States until the late 2000s. After declaring that Smart would go electric in 2017, global sales dropped 4.6 percent to 128,802 units. Many dealers in the US have stopped selling the Fortwo, with Smart moving a measly 1,276 units in the US last year, a slide of 58 percent.
Just last month, Daimler announced that it would be teaming up with Chinese automotive giant Geely for the development of its future city cars. The German corporation also announced it would build a new factory in China, with production geared towards global consumption starting in 2022.
With Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche looking to retire and incoming replacement Ola Kallenius seeking to cut costs, there has been much speculation that Smart will be eliminated. However, in March at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Kallenius referred to the Smart as the ideal electric car, saying that demand was greater than the supply and that they would increase production. Watch this space, and we will see how Daimler moves forward, or not, with the Smart brand when summer rolls around.