Daimler has a new strategy aimed at boosting Smart’s sales.
After Daimler failed with the four-seater and sporty roadster versions of its Smart car, the German automaker plans to add in 2014 an electric-powered scooter to the Smart lineup, a prototype which can reach a top speed of 45 kilometers (28 miles) per hour. Last year the company also introduced a 2,849-euro electric bike and a scooter aimed at shoring up Smart’s image as a city-transport specialist, instead of just being an automaker.
“Smart is Daimler’s answer to the challenges of today’s megacities,” brand chief Annette Winkler said over tea at the unit’s headquarters in Boeblingen, Germany. The goal is to make city life “a little more colorful, cheerful and healthy.”
Since it was introduced in 1998, the Smart unit has accumulated losses of more than 1.5 billion euro, including a 120 million-euro deficit so far this year. Therefore, to boost sales, Daimler plans to expand Smart’s vehicle lineup which includes the Fortwo, its electric version introduced in 2012 and will be added a revamp of the basic Fortwo in 2014. Daimler and Renault are also working on a new Smart four-seater, expected to hit the market in 2014.
Daimler keeps the Smart brand, as it can attract younger customers and also help the automaker meet CO2 emission restrictions, offsetting larger Mercedes models. But Smart’s future depends on how the customers will receive the new Fortwo and the four-seater. IHS Automotive predicts that the new models will help the company reach sales of 190,000 units by 2015.