Smart gives up on gas-powered cars in the US

"Developments within the micro-car sector provide some obstacles for the present smart product portfolio", Exler wrote. The auto has never been branded as one of the German luxury cars, although Mercedes manages Smart in the U.S.

Automotive News (Subscription Required) obtained a letter sent to Smart dealers that states the brand will cease selling gas-powered models by the end of this year.

Mercedes-Benz USA sold 6,211 Smart cars past year, compared with global sales of Smart branded vehicles of 144,479. "As a result, Smart will discontinue sales of the gasoline-powered Fortwo and Fortwo Cabrio for the US and Canadian markets after model year 2017", he added.

Sales of the Smart had never been especially strong in North America, with drivers in Germany, Italy, and China all taking more to the tiny auto.

Industry trade journal Automotive News reports production of the US -spec, gasoline-powered Fortwo is scheduled to stop in April.

The German automaker will sell battery-powered versions of the Smart Fortwo and Fortwo convertible models in the United States and Canada. Aversion to the Smart brand has been particularly strong in the US, where shoppers typically avoid small cars.

It sounds like the decision has less to do with overwhelming demand for electric Smart cars, however, and more to do with the North American market's tremendous preference for crossovers, SUVs and larger vehicles, all of which remained resilient categories in a year that was challenging for consumer auto sales for many manfacturers. Starting in 2018, dealers will only sell the electric drive variant. To make matters worse, 2016 should have been a good for Smart because it was the all-new, third-generation Fortwo's first full year on the market.

  • Tracy Ferguson