When the Smart car first landed in North America in 2008, it was seen as a great new option for environmentally conscious car buyers in a world of dominated by SUVs and monster trucks. Unfortunately, the small city car never lived up to the marketing hype. Today, the model range and dealerships are shrinking.
Smart Automobile (owned by Daimer AG) announced that it would only be producing the electric Smart and discontinuing the gas model. With this in mind, the company asked its dealers if they wished to continue operations. It gave their 85 dealers across the United States until the end of June to make the call. Well, it turns out that company will now see its dealer base shrink to just 27 in total, which would make Smart the smallest dealership group in the country. (The 58 dealers who have opted out of the program will continue to service the vehicles.)
Smart will now have fewer dealerships than Lamborghini (31), Ferrari (31), and Rolls-Royce (35), and Lotus (41) in the United States. The company noted that while this might look like bad news today, Daimler is predicting a future buying climate where a two-seat Smart ForTwo EV will make a comeback. The company hopes for sales that rival the 2,600 units sold in 2014. For now, most dealers who have opted out are stating that with the new and improved lineup of Mercedes-Benz electrified vehicles (also owned by Daimler AG), their markets would be better suited to the luxury brand versus the surprisingly expensive microcar.