There is a preference for larger, more efficient EVs that provide more milerange in the U.S. and Canada. Small two-person mini-cars are passe.
In a significant development, German automaker Daimler AG stated, it will discontinue the tiny, two-person Smart cars, that was once pitched as the next big thing in urban mobility, from the United States and Canada at the end of the current model year.
With their unique styling and ability to fit in small parking spaces, smart cars was a niche market for densely populated U.S. and Canadian cities. But with the target audience being too small and facing a rapid decline, the market was fast shrinking.
Only 90 of these Smart cars were sold in the United States during March- down 18% from a year earlier.
A stronger U.S. economy and cheap gasoline prices have encouraged consumers to spend more on sports utility vehicles and large trucks.
Further, the Smart brand’s electric cars offered only 93 km (58 miles) of driving range; in comparison the “mid-range” Tesla Model 3, offers a milerage of 264 miles. In addition to that, the Model 3 offers more room for passengers and cargo.
In its statement, Daimler cited a “a number of factors” for its decision to end Smart’s run in the United States and Canada, “including a declining micro-car market in the U.S. and Canada, combined with high homologation costs for a low volume model.”
Homologation refers to the changes required to bring the European-designed Smart in line with U.S. regulations.
Daimler ended sales of gasoline-fueled Smart cars in 2017.
Daimler plans on introducing newer, larger electric vehicles to the United States, starting with the launch of the EQC sport utility in 2019. The EQC SUV will help Daimler to meet zero emission vehicle quotas in California and in other states.
Daimler clarified, dealers will continue to offer parts and repairs for Smart cars.