Daimler Ag’s city cars smart brand plans an expansion on its current line-up and sales network in China as the producer seeks more orders in a market dominated by SUVs and minivans.
The automaker wants to bring to China the electric drive version of the smart fortwo but also the newly developed and yet unreleased bigger four-seater car jointly developed with Renault-Nissan. According to Annette Winkler, head of Smart Brand, they expect to boost annual sales in the nation by 15% annually, on average, in the next few years by tapping demand in cities with a population of more than one million.
“There are 160 cities with more than one million people, and many of them lack parking space, have high density and are culturally very open,” she said while in Nanjing in eastern China. “All this fits together.”
Smart plans to have 100 sales outlets in about 75 Chinese cities by the end of this year, compared with 88 showrooms in 68 cities now. Meanwhile sales in China last year surged 45% compared with the 6% worldwide. Winkler declined to say when the new models, including an electric scooter, would be introduced in the country.