Earlier this year, Daimler announced that it is converting the Smart brand to all-electric in North America and discontinuing gas-powered Smart cars.
The move wasn’t really well received by Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Most of them are shutting down their Smart car sale operations because of the move to all-electric.
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Some dealerships warned that they were considering it and Daimler gave them a deadline to make a decision and it’s now official.
Automotive News reported that out of the 85 Mercedes-Benz dealership in the US that were carrying Smart cars, only 27 decided to keep selling them:
“Mercedes-Benz USA, which distributes Smart in the U.S., asked dealers to decide by the end of June whether to continue selling the ForTwo two-seater, the brand’s sole nameplate. Of Smart’s 85 outlets, 27 said they would remain, while 58 said they would move to a service-only operation, said company spokeswoman Donna Boland. Those numbers are preliminary, she said.”
The remaining dealerships are mainly located in California, New York, and other states with zero-emission vehicle mandates.
Prior to the move, Daimler confirmed pricing of the 2017 Smart Fortwo electric drive and it received a small price reduction to a starting MSRP of $23,800 before EV incentives. The 4-seat option is still $28,000.
While it’s disappointing that the move to electric results in a significant reduction of the Smart brand’s presence in North America, it’s not exactly surprising.
The brand was already unpopular in the US and some dealers could be using this as a reason to shut down operations, which wouldn’t have much to do with the move to electric-only models.
Daimler, the parent company of both the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, is still moving forward into its broader push toward electrification, mostly with the Mercedes-Benz brand. The company recently secured manufacturing capacity to produce compact electric vehicles in Germany and unveiled its new battery factory.
The German automaker also recently announced the acceleration of its electric car plans by 3 years and that they will spend $11 billion on 10 models by 2022. The first new all-electric car is expected to hit the market in 2019.