Even though the Daimler subsidiary Smart has announced plans to go fully electric by 2020, the future of the brand is unsure, according to industry insider Georg Kacher.
The reason for this is that Renault intends to withdraw from their cooperation with Daimler, which would mean that the Smart ForFour and Renault Twingo, which are based on a combined platform, would reach the end of their development cycles. It is possibly that Geely may enter as a new small vehicle partner with Daimler, but that is unclear at this point.
If Daimler does not secure another partner, it is entirely possible that they would up on the brand, according to Kacher. The internal plan currently would have them dropping the Smart brand earliest in 2026. The question whether Daimler would completely withdraw from the small vehicle segment also remains. They could also continue developing the models under the Mercedes brand with a new basic model. The decision would have to fall by 2021, when the next generation of the A Class will be decided on, which is set to be constructed based on a scalable platform, and could provide the basis for a “baby Benz”, allowing for small combustion engines as well as BEV and PHEV variants. The most likely option, according to Kacher, would be a new U Class (U for Urban and Universal) for small vehicles with different set up options, such as a cargo or shuttle.