Smart Cars Are Officially Dead in the United States and Canada
The company will effectively be dissolved in its entirety by 2020.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed to The Drive that its Smart line of electric city vehicles will cease sales in the United States and Canada at the end of the 2019 model year, amounting to an effective withdrawal from North America by 2020.
"After much careful consideration, Smart will discontinue its battery-electric Smart EQ ForTwo model in the U.S. and Canadian markets at the conclusion of MY2019," a Daimler spokesperson said via email. "A number of factors, including a declining micro-car market in the U.S. and Canada, combined with high homologation costs for a low volume model are central to this decision."
Smart's befuddling EQ ForTwo and Cabrio variant thereof comprise its entire lineup on the North American continent, meaning that the retirement of this one model amounts to a withdrawal from the market. Since Smart is a fully owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz's owner Daimler, owners of Smart vehicles will continue to be able to get their vehicles serviced at Mercedes-Benz dealerships, through which parts will continue to be available.
Originally, Smart's EQ ForTwo was meant to be Daimler's foothold in the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market, but the shriveling market for subcompact cars in North America limited the model's popularity. Starting in 2020, Daimler will instead put its electric eggs into the Mercedes-Benz basket via the launch of the marque's first mass-produced electric model, the EQC, which will be a compact luxury crossover with an anticipated EPA range of at least 200 miles.
"Mercedes-Benz will carry forward its electric strategy in the U.S. and Canada with the arrival of the new EQC in 2020," continued the Daimler spokesperson. "MBUSA and Mercedes-Benz Canada will continue to provide owners of gasoline-powered and electric Smart ForTwo models with access to service and replacement parts via Smart and authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers."
Smart as a brand will not be discontinued outright, and will reportedly transform into an electric-only marque for the Chinese market with the help of Volvo's Chinese owner, Geely. Daimler and Geely will reportedly go fifty-fifty on the Smart venture in China, where Smart will reportedly manufacture vehicles for international sale by the end of 2022.