Barely a year after belatedly redesigning its microcar line-up, Daimler AG’s Smart brand has confirmed it will stop selling gasoline-powered vehicle in the U.S. and Canada, focusing exclusively on an electrified version of its two-seat Fortwo model.
It is the latest development in a series of setbacks for Smart, which has continued to lose ground despite last year’s redesign. The timing was unfortunate, according to industry analysts, coming at a point when gasoline prices were hovering at barely $2 a gallon and millions of North American buyers have been migrating from passenger cars to utility vehicles and other light trucks.
News of the decision to go all-electric came in the form of a letter sent by Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, to Smart dealers. Declaring “Smart has always been synonymous with innovation,” Exler added that “Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio. He concluded that, “A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.” (more…)