Daimler will end US and Canada sales of its electric, pint-sized Smart Fortwo cars after the 2019 model year, the company confirmed today. “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 said in a statement to The Verge. “A number of factors, including a declining micro-car market in the US and Canada, combined with high homologation costs for a low volume model are central to this decision.” TechCrunch first reported the decision earlier today.
The tiny two-seater cars (which are not even nine feet in length) were pitched as the perfect urban vehicle for quick, everyday travel between different city neighborhoods. Indeed, I see them often around New York City. They’re also a big part of Car2Go’s rental fleet.
The Fortwo offers terrific maneuverability, and it can squeeze between traffic gaps that many cars could never manage. But underwhelming range (58 miles) and limited availability — most Mercedes-Benz dealers stopped selling Smart cars when they went all-electric — have severely lessened the appeal of Smart in the US where SUVs and large vehicles are again dominating auto sales. Micro-cars just aren’t getting traction.
“Mercedes-Benz will carry forward its electric strategy in the U.S. and Canada with the arrival of the new EQC in 2020,” Daimler’s statement says. The EQC is an SUV, so it by no means serves the same purpose as the Smart Fortwo.
Customers can expect to continue getting service and parts for the vehicles at authorized Smart and Mercedes Benz dealers. Despite Daimler soon planning to end 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, with sales expected to begin in 2022.