Although the move has been portrayed as the latest sign of struggles for small cars in the United States, this positive could go a long way in weaning off our dependency on dirty polluting fossil fuels.
In a significant development that is likely to be a milestone for Daimler, the company has now disclosed that it will stop selling combustion engine Smart cars in the United States and Canada. It will instead focus on selling electric vehicles only in these two markets.
This information was conveyed to Daimler dealers in a letter drafted by Dietmar Exler, head of Mercedes-Benz USA. The letter states that the sale of Smart cars with gasoline engines will stop with the 2017 model, which ends this fall.
“Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio,” wrote Exler. “A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.”
Daimler has clarified that this change will not apply to other markets outside of North America.
The German car manufacturer will only sell battery-powered versions of its Fortwo convertible models and Smart Fortwo in the United States and Canada.
Daimler’s move was first reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
In 2016 Mercedes-Benz USA sold 6,211 Smart cars, which is down by 16% from 2015. Low U.S. gasoline prices could be one of the reasons for the low sales figure.