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Discussion Starter #1
The following article appeared in CarBuzz today...

Mercedes' quirky city car brand may not be around forever.

The Smart brand has always been a niche player in the US market, where gas is cheap and pickup trucks and SUVs rule the sales charts. Last year, Smart was only able to move a little over 3,000 units in the US. To put that number into perspective, Alfa Romeo was able to move nearly three times as many Giulias in the same year.

Clearly, parent company Mercedes-Benz has some important decisions to make with the Smart brand. We've suggested transforming Smart into a rival for Mini, but it seems like Mercedes may simply give up on its quirky city car brand as Automobile Magazine reports.

Smart is currently in the process of replacing all of its gas-engine cars with new electric powertrains by 2020, though even this may not be enough to save the troubled brand. According to reports, Renault is planning on pulling its partnership to produce Smart cars when the ForFour and Twingo each reach the end of the cycles. Mercedes doesn't want to continue building Smart cars without a partner, so it may kill off the brand by 2026. Unless Volvo's Chinese parent company Geely is interested in a partnership, this could spell the end of Smart.

There is a small chance Mercedes will still compete in this segment with its own small car, which would slot below the A- class to rival the Audi A1. This decision would have to be made by 2021 when Mercedes signs off on the next-generation A-Class, which will likely arrive in 2025. The new A-Class would use a scalable architecture, which would make it easy to build a city car on the same platform. We may not know for a few more years, but Smart could be living on borrowed time.
https://apple.news/A00EjIslFQIuBJXuEhd3AkA
 

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Smart, not advertising a new ice vehicle in 2016 sure didn’t help the brand. Going full EV, with only 26 outlets, wasn’t a bright marketing course. Over priced, terrible driving range.

The European market. 2016 the smart brand sold 69,269 units. 2017, 65,800 vehicles went out the door.

March 2018, smart sold 6,487 units across Europe
June 2018 they sold 6,039 units.

These are good numbers, for a crowded niche European market. The ICE smart still offered there.
 

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I suppose that's not too surprising. Three thousand is quite a paltry number for only one year in the U.S. market. I guess the lion's share for small quirky cars got eaten up by the likes of MINI and the Fiat 500. I happened to purchase a 2016 Smart Proxy over the weekend knowing that the gas models were the last of the breed. I hope Mercedes continues a reasonable amount of support for the car. I drove the new electric models and they perform quite well... very refined, quiet and punchy. Is that enough to save 'em here? Hard to say.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
With Renault pulling out of the partnership, the developmental cost for a next-gen smart would have to be shouldered alone by MB.

As the article suggested, it makes more fiscal sense for MB’s to use its forthcoming size-scalable platform for a new (smarter?) urban vehicle.
 
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