The Smart Brand Is About to Get a Bunch Smaller in America
Only 27 dealers will be left selling the cars in America.
More than two-third of Smart car dealerships in the U.S. are going to stop selling thetiny cars altogether as the brand moves electric, according to Automotive News.
Similar to Volvo, Smart made the decision to switch its North American models to battery-powered vehicles in February. This model would eliminate the ability for dealers to sell any of the remaining gas-powered options in Smart's fleet that is to be sold outside the U.S. The new powertrain has an 81-horsepower electric motor powered by a small 17.6 kWh battery, providing between 96 and 100 miles of range with a charge time of just 2.5 hours, depending on the model. Pricing will range from $23,800 to $28,000 before incentives.
Currently, Smart has 85 dealers which peddle the brand's vehicles. When Daimler reached out to dealers to ask if they would continue selling the brand once Smart transitions to a fully electric brand, 58 of the dealers (or 68 percent) said they would no longer continue selling the vehicles, and would provide only service going forward. Coincidentally, the remaining 32 percent of dealers reside in states that have large mandates and regulations on emission requirements. Examples of the dealer placement include Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, and San Francisco—markets that provide the brand with the "highest market penetration potential," said Donna Boland, Manager of Corporate Communications at Mercedes Benz, according to Auto News.
As sales numbers have been steadily declining in 2017, it's no surprise that dealers are reducing Smart's footprint in the United States. The brand itself has not had a fantastic historic sales record, and its vehicles aren't exactly the "next generation" of electric car that companies like Tesla and Volkswagen are striving to produce. Mercedes as a whole has been working to increase its electric presence worldwide, even building a half-billion dollar battery manufacturing facility. Hopefully, the rest of the Daimler line steps up to bat and is here to compete when the rest of the market is ready to butt heads over electric supremacy.