At the end of the current model year, Daimler is to ends sales of the Smart in the USA and Canada, where the small car has only been available with an electric drive since 2017. In addition, Smart-boss Katrin Adt will assume a new management position within the Group as of 1 July.
Smart’s withdrawal from North America has been announced by several media outlets with reference to a statement by Mercedes-Benz. The reasons cited are poor sales figures and high costs for adapting the Smart to US regulations. Since September 2017, Daimler has only offered electric Smart cars in the US and Canada. But like their petrol-powered counterparts before them, they are now facing the end. According to the carmaker, however, spare parts and maintenance will continue to be guaranteed.
The sales figures for Smart in the USA are indeed poor: in March only 90 units were sold. In 2018 as a whole there were only 1,276 units – a drop of 58 per cent compared to the previous year. At the moment, small cars in the United States have a tough time, regardless of the manufacturer. For Daimler, this is a small consolation. The Germans have now drawn the consequences and announced that they intend to attack the American electric car market next year with the E-SUV EQC.
Meanwhile, Daimler has announced that smart boss Katrin Adt will become head of the newly created Mercedes-Benz Cars Own Retail Europe division (passenger cars and vans) as of July 1, 2019. Adt took over the management of the Smart brand only in the autumn of 2018, but now, as reported, it is to be incorporated into a joint venture with the Chinese manufacturer Geely and managed from China in the future. According to German publication auto motor und sport, the establishment of the new joint venture is currently being prepared under the direction of Daniel Lescow, Head of Marketing at Smart. According to current plans, the joint venture should be completed in autumn. Until then, the six managing directors will also be appointed to lead the new company.