Daimler will end sales in the United States and Canada of its Smart Fortwo electric cars after the model year 2019, the company confirmed today. "After much consideration, Smart will discontinue its smart, battery-electric Fortwo EQ model in the US and Canadian markets at the conclusion of the MY2019," Daimler said in a statement. The Verge. "A number of factors, including a declining micro-car market in the US and Canada combined with high certification costs for a low-volume model are key to this decision." TechCrunch first reported the decision earlier today.
The tiny, two-seater cars (less than nine feet long) were launched as the perfect urban vehicle for fast, daily trips between different neighborhoods of the city. In fact, I often see them in New York. They are also a large part of Car2Go's rental fleet.
The Fortwo offers excellent maneuverability, and can squeeze through traffic flaws that many cars could never manage. But a below-expected range (58 miles) and limited availability – most Mercedes-Benz dealerships stopped selling smart cars when they were fully electric – drastically reduced Smart's appeal in the US, where SUVs and large vehicles are again dominating car sales. The micro-cars simply are not getting traction.
"Mercedes-Benz will push forward its electric strategy in the US and Canada with the arrival of the new EQC by 2020," said the Daimler statement. The EQC is an SUV, so it does not serve the same purpose as the Smart Fortwo.
Customers can expect to continue to receive services and parts for their vehicles from authorized Smart and Mercedes Benz dealers. Although Daimler soon plans to complete production in the US and Canada, the company still has big plans for Smart in China. In March, it announced a partnership with Geely to build the next generation of smart vehicles in China, predicted to start sales in 2022.