Reports have surfaced that claim that Daimler is diverting all its attention to electric vehicles in US and Canada and in the process will stop selling combustion engine Smart cars in the two markets.
According to Reuters, Dietmar Exler, head of Mercedes-Benz USA has sent a letter to company’s dealers across the two markets wherein it is stated that the company will stop selling gasoline engine-powered Smart cars when the 2017 model year ends this fall. This may come as a surprise considering that Smart Fortwo was completely redesigned just a year ago.
The decision sits in line with recent decline in sales of small cars in the United States and Daimler’s own sales numbers are indicative of the struggles of small cars. Smart Fortwo just sold 6,200 units last year in the U.S.
Instead of gasoline powered cars, Daimler wants to focus the brand’s attention on electric vehicles in the two markets. Exler wrote to dealers that a dedicated focus on the electric vehicles in US and Canada is a logical step that reiterates the commitment that Daimler has towards a sustainable and zero emissions future. The move is currently only slated for US and Canadian markets, Exler points out.
As per the plan, Daimler will be selling battery-powered versions of its Smart Fortwo and Fortwo convertible models in the two markets.
Mercedes-Benz spokesman Rob Moran confirmed the strategic decision stating that Daimler will be discontinuing gasoline-powered Smart ForTwo coupe and convertible after the 2017 model year. The company will stop production of the cars for North America in April this year and will continue selling the cars until all units of the gasoline powered cars are sold.
While sales of gasoline powered-Smart has been declining the company hasn’t revealed annual expected sales for the electric-drive models. Back in 2014 when electric vehicles were at their peak, Smart’s electric vehicle sales accounted for 25 per cent of the brand’s annual sales.