A very strange thing is about to happen with the smart brand, saved thanks to an association between Daimler and the Chinese group Geely in the middle of 2019 before being withdrawn from the North American market at the end of this same model year. .
Believe it or not, smart will reinvent itself by building SUVs!
Obviously, this is the reflection of a strong trend in the industry. All over the world, traditional cars are in decline, with a large majority of consumers preferring trucks and utility vehicles. Buick and Lincoln have recently become 100% SUV brands, at least in North America, while Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Fiat are moving forward with a single car model. Cadillac and Ford have only two left.
However, it is astounding to see smart follow suit, which owes all its notoriety to the fortwo microcar, which initially entered production in July 1998.
Daimler and Geely will work together to design and build a smart SUV, possibly two. The first will take care of the design and finish, while the second will provide its adaptable electric platform called SEA (the same that Volvo will use for a future compact model). Prototypes have even already been built and a launch is scheduled for 2022.
That said, don’t expect a very spacious and adventurous vehicle, because smart will stay true to its urban orientation. By our North American standards, we would speak of a subcompact SUV.
Will we witness the return of smart to us? Again, don’t kid yourself. The brand will focus on China and Europe, where the potential is much greater. Daimler, which must limit its spending like many others to finance the development of its future electric vehicles, would have no interest in relaunching smart in America.
In an interview for the German magazine Automobilwoche, the boss of smart, Daniel Lescow, has also confirmed that this avenue was to be excluded.
In the studio: smart bows out