Daimler relies on the Smart electric scooter and electric bike to improve the brand’s image as a city transport specialist, and not just a plain automaker.
Smart introduced last year its electric bike, priced 2,849 euro and now it prepares to launch an electric scooter, able of reaching speeds of 28 miles per hour. Daimler relies on the electric bike and scooter to improve Smart’s image, and make customers see it as a city transport specialist and not just a simple automaker.
“Smart is Daimler’s answer to the challenges of today’s megacities,” says brand chief Annette Winkler. The goal is to make city life “a little more colorful, cheerful, and healthy.”
Since it was introduced in 1998 Smart has accumulated losses of more than 1.5 billion euro and never managed to reach its initial global sales goal of 200,000 vehicles annually. Daimler will continue to support the brand, confident that it can attract younger customers and also help the German automaker reach the CO2 emission rules, offsetting the high emissions levels of its more profitable Mercedes-Benz lines, such as the S-Class sedan.
Daimler is also confident that the new Fortwo and the Smart four-seater, to be developed with Renault and reach dealerships in 2014, will boost sales to 190,000 in 2015.
“Smart won’t get another chance if they fail again,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “They will do their utmost to prove that they can succeed.”