Electric Cars

Smart will leave the US, Canadian markets when the 2019 model year concludes

It has sold fewer than 100 cars each month in 2019 thus far.

Good night, sweet prince.

Smart

After a decade-long run, Smart will soon shuffle off the mortal coil… in the US and Canada.

According to an official statement sent to its dealers, Smart will cease sales operations in the US and Canada at the end of the 2019 model year. Mercedes-Benz USA and Mercedes-Benz Canada dealers will provide service and parts for Smart vehicles following the automaker's departure. It's unclear how long Smart's branded dealers and service locations will stay active. Both Mercedes-Benz and Smart are parts of the greater Daimler empire.

"A number of factors, including a declining micro-car market in the U.S. and Canada, combined with high homologation costs for a low volume model are central to this decision," the statement reads. A quick glance at Smart's sales figures since its 2008 launch paints a less-than-rosy picture. Sales peaked in May 2008 with 2,695 units, but Smart has been unable to break into the triple digits in any month of 2019 thus far. In February, Smart sold just 58 vehicles.

Then again, with just two variants of a single model on sale in these markets, it was an uphill battle from the start. Originally, the Smart Fortwo carried gas engine, but Smart announced in early 2017 that it would only sell the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive EV starting in the 2018 model year. Our own Antuan Goodwin reviewed the 2018 drop-top Fortwo, and while he enjoyed its urban maneuverability and electric torque, its 57-mile range felt paltry compared to just about any other EV on the market.

Outside the US and Canada, though, Smart will live on. In late March, Daimler announced that Smart would be run by a new 50-50 joint venture between Daimler and Geely, the Chinese automaker that also owns Volvo and Lotus. Smart intends to launch a new EV in 2022 that will be built in China. Mercedes-Benz will remain in charge of styling, while Geely will be left to handle engineering and production.

(Hat tip to MotorAuthority's Marty Padgett!)