Mercedes-Benz Canada has confirmed that the Smart brand will be going away in Canada and the United States at the end of this model year.
Smart first launched in 1998 as a partnership between SMH, the company that made Swatch watches, and Mercedes parent company Daimler-Benz. The goal was to produce city cars with a little more funk than the typical sub-compact. The micro cars arrived in Canada in 2004, sold through Mercedes-Benz dealers and eventually Smart brand retailers.
The two-seat diesel-sipping cars had innovative features like body panels that could be swapped out with other colours and a tiny 800cc diesel three-cylinder engine that made just 40 hp. While Smart later launched a larger four-door model in Europe, and even a roadster, Canada saw only the two-door coupe and cabrio versions on this side of the pond.
The brand switched to electric-only in Canada and the US for the 2018 model year. The company said at the time that a third of its sales around then were already electric, so the move was a logical one.
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Smart sales peaked in 2005, the company's first full year in the Canadian market. While they came close to that figure in 2008, most years saw a slide ending with fewer than 400 units sold in each of the last two years.
A Mercedes-Benz Canada spokesperson told us via email that "after much careful consideration, Smart will discontinue its battery-electric smart EQ fortwo model in the US and Canadian markets at the conclusion of the 2019 model year. A number of factors, including a declining micro-car market in the US and Canada combined with high homologation costs for a low volume model are central to this decision."
While the Smart brand won't continue here, Mercedes is still planning to bring new electrics to our market under the EQ brand, starting with the EQC in 2020. Mercedes-Benz says that it will continue to support gas and electric Smart owners with service and parts through their dealer network. The brand will continue, for now, in other markets.