Smart Car set for Electric-Only Future
Daimler plans to change their Smart Car's Management team for an Electric-Only Future
Daimler AG (AG is an abbreviation of Aktiengesellschaft, which is a German term for a public limited company.) is changing top management at Smart car as part of a plan to overhaul the brand. The Smart Car has always been something of a strange fit for the world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles.
The strategic shift to electric vehicles will see the head of Smart Car, Annette Winkler step down at the end of September after running Smart for eight years.
The Smart Car was introduced two decades targeting urban consumers who wanted a car purely for its parking convenience but since it’s arrival, Smart has racked up about 4 billion euros in losses.
“Smart has never become a hit,” said Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Metzler, who estimates the current annual losses at about 200 million euros. “Becoming one of the first really electric brands makes some sense.”
Despite Smart Cars being a common sight on the streets of Berlin, Paris and Rome, the brand has struggled to expand beyond the tiny two-seater, originally launched in 1998. They introduced a roadster in 2003 and a compact in 2004 fell but these fell flat.
The original model was redesigned in 2014 to give it more of a car-like front to match a new four-seater -- the aptly named ForFour, which was a joint production with Renault SA but it hasn't been very successful.
Smart, is part of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division but despite this, deliveries last year slumped 6 per cent to 136,000 vehicles.
Having a brand like Smart also gives Daimler room to experiment, with quirky services like using your car as a drop-off point for package deliveries and sharing cars via smartphone. Daniel Schwarz, an analyst for Credit Suisse in Frankfurt said:
“You can take more risk if the name on the car is Smart rather than Mercedes,”