In February 2017, the Smart automotive brand said it would exclusively focus on making and selling pure electric cars. Production of gas-powered Smart cars for North America was reportedly halted in April. With that change, and in what appears to be an unwinding of its US presence, Smart’s 85 dealerships will be reduced to only 27 locations in the coming months, according to a report this week in Automotive News. Daimler is the parent company for both Mercedes-Benz and Smart.
The surviving dealerships are located in California, New York, and other states with zero-emission vehicle mandates. Daimler executives said they expected to see dealerships remain in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Portland, Ore.
This part of the story I can understand. Traditional car dealers do NOT like EVs. Most of a dealership’s money comes from the service department, and EVs tend to have little that needs fixing, replacing, or changing (the previously noted Bolt with a dickey battery not withstanding). Changing a line over to electric only is bound to upset these people who see that their profits are going to evaporate, so i can understand the dealers bailing on the SmartCar badge.
The new version defies the trend for electric cars, which commonly receive upgrades in range and power in successive generations. But the driving range of the 2017 Smart Electric Drive fell by 10 miles to just 58 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That breaks down to a city range of 63 miles and a highway rating of 51 miles. The new 2017 model of the Smart Electric Drive is also slower than its predecessor—using an 81-horsepower electric motor to reach 60 miles per hour in more than 11 seconds. Its top speed is 81 mph.
This makes ZERO sense unless Daimler is simply setting the line up to die in the U.S.