The iconic Smart car, renowned for its dinky dimensions, is set to return in the future, with the firm currently exploring options for the model in the coming years.
First introduced in 1998, the Smart City Coupe – later renamed to the ForTwo – has become a popular sight in cities thanks to its remarkably small dimensions. Sales have, however, slumped in recent years with the brand switching to EV-only models in 2019. These are, however, compromised by an electric range of no more than 80 miles because of their tiny size.
Figures from automotive trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) show just 941 Smarts were registered in the UK the first eight months of 2022. For contrast, Mini sold 27,000 models in the same period.
Smart is now gearing up to launch a raft of new models, with the new #1 (pronounced hashtag one) SUV being its first, and signalling a change of direction for the brand.
David Browne, CEO of Smart UK, told the PA news agency: “The ForTwo has been an iconic product for Smart, and that continues in the short-term. Yes, we’re well into the lifecycle of that, and as the joint venture starts to take over responsibility of the full portfolio, we will consider as we go forward what will be an appropriate replacement and timing for the ForTwo. We’d love to get back into that space, but there are a lot of priorities in the meantime.”
Currently the ForTwo is manufactured in France at a factory now run by petrochemicals firm-turned-4×4-maker Ineos, sold to the company by Mercedes in 2020.
Production continues though Mercedes (co-owners of Smart with Chinese automotive firm Geely) will decide when production ends, though it’s likely in late-2023 or early 2024. Smart says the small city car will be sold alongside the #1 ‘for a while’, however.
Browne added: “The Fortwo is still in production and we will see that continue alongside #1 for a while. Mercedes ultimately decides when that finishes, but we will see some crossover.
“Frankly that’s a good thing from my perspective as what we’re saying is that this isn’t the end of Fortwo, we’re not walking away from that part of the market, but as we start to expand the appeal of Smart, we’re reaching into different areas, going into that higher volume segment.
“That’s where the focus is in the short term and then build the business and we will absolutely have permission to look at products to add to the range later. “