German manufacturer Daimler will decide by the end of this year what it will be the fate of the Smart subsidiary. “The new CEO will shut down the brand if necessary”.
The future of this brand is in doubt for several reasons. According to information disclosed by the Handelsblatt financial publication, economists estimate that Smart have lost billions of euros since its launch in 1998 as a result of modest sales and high development costs.
In addition, the international press speculates that Renault intends to give up the partnership through which the Twingo city model is developed in close collaboration with the two current Smart models, ForTwo and FourFour.
Daimler also announced that Smart will become a 100% electric brand by 2020, but this goal is ambitious. On the one hand, the costs of developing city electric models are high, but the same amount of investment is needed to continue developing internal combustion engine models due to increasingly tough emission standards.
The final decision on the future of the Smart brand will be taken by Ola Kallenius, who will take over the CEO position of Daimler in May, from Dieter Zetsche. Sources cited by the Handelsblatt publication state that the new CEO will not have “scruples about killing off the Smart brand if needed”.