New strategy could redefine the German automaker’s future

Long thought to be a cute little brand that had a much lower ceiling than most automakers in the industry, Daimler-owned smart is now setting its sights on becoming a full-fledged global all-electric car brand. The announcement was made by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who indicated plans to turn Smart into an all-electric brand in Europe, following a similar announcement made for the North American market last year.

Smart Car to Become Global EV Brand, Taking Over Europe Once North America is Conquered Exterior
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The decision to make Smart completely electric in North America made sense because the brand had lost whatever steam it had left in that market

This is an interesting turn of events given Smart’s popularity in Europe. The decision to make Smart completely electric in North America made sense because the brand had lost whatever steam it had left in that market. The risks that came with the move were minimal because smart models weren’t exactly selling like hot pancakes in North America.

But it’s a different story in Europe. Smart has a healthy market in that region, as shown by the 100,000 or so vehicles it sells in Europe every year. Now, the decision to turn Smart all-electric in Europe isn’t a bad one; it actually makes sense in its own way because the market itself has embraced the growth of electrification.

Turning Smart into an all-electric brand under the Mercedes EQ family would give it a lot more exposure than it otherwise would’ve had. More importantly, it would streamline Daimler’s efforts in transitioning its brands towards electrification, something that the German automaker is already aiming for with Mercedes. We already saw the first signs of that when it announced at the Geneva Motor Show that smart would be brought into the EQ brand and be offered as “smart EQ” models.

Smart Car to Become Global EV Brand, Taking Over Europe Once North America is Conquered Exterior
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Turning Smart into an all-electric brand under the Mercedes EQ family would give it a lot more exposure than it otherwise would’ve had

The optimist in me thinks that this is a positive step in giving the smart brand a new identity. It makes a lot of sense for these micro cars to be electrified because their whole identity is built on being one of the most efficient cars on the road. The move to turn them all-electric will help create a new identity that builds off of what Smart cars are already supposed to be.

Hopefully, Daimler isn’t doing this for the sake of doing it. The German automaker should have a goal in mind, not the least of which is to give smart the platform it needs to firmly establish itself as an automaker that can shine in the business. Turning it into an all-electric brand is a good start. Now, we’ll have to see if it can live up to its new identity.

References

Smart Car to Become Global EV Brand, Taking Over Europe Once North America is Conquered Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Smart ForTwo EQ.

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Read more Smart news.

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