R.I.P. smart: No More Fortwo in North America

In a shocking turn of event, Daimler has confirmed that the smart brand will exit the North American market following the 2019 model year.

This comes only a month after the German automaker signed a 50-50 joint partnership with China’s Geely to keep the world’s most famous city car alive, with a new generation scheduled to begin production in 2022.

“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,” Daimler AG wrote in a statement that was later shared by representatives of Mercedes-Benz Canada.

Photo: David Miller

A number of factors played a role in the decision, such as the declining micro-car segment in North America combined with the high homologation costs for a low-volume model.

Mercedes-Benz will continue to sell smart cars until the end of the year, after which maintenance and replacement parts will remain available through authorized dealers.

Photo: David Miller

The smart brand was originally founded in 1994, with the fortwo launching in Canada in 2004—four years before the U.S. Available as a coupe and convertible, the car started with a tiny three-cylinder diesel engine that was replaced by a 1.0-litre gasoline unit earlier this decade.

In 2018, smart shifted to an all-electric lineup, a move that certainly did not help increase sales. Barely 345 fortwos found takers in Canada and 1,276 in the U.S. With a range of just 92 kilometres, the car lost much appeal.

Daimler’s electrification plan on this side of the Atlantic will now focus entirely on the EQ sub-brand, starting with the Mercedes-Benz EQC in 2020.

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