Proving to be just a mite too clever for North American tastes, sales of the battery-electric smart EQ fortwo coupe and cabrio are coming to an end. Despite being on sale for several years longer in Canada than the United States, the brand will vanish from both markets at the conclusion of model year 2019.
Sinead Brown, Communications-PR Supervisor for Mercedes Benz Canada, told wheels.ca in an email that 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 the company’s decision to shutter the brand in this country.
The microcar saw several different forms of propulsion during its relatively short tenure on our shores. Initially powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of less than one litre when it appeared in Canada in 2004, the car made a switch to 1.0L gasoline-fuelled propulsion after entering the American market in 2008. Electric (EQ) versions were added in 2014 and, by 2018, were the sole offerings.
Packing a 17.6kWh battery, the Smart EQ cars have an approximate range of 93 kilometres, a distance which may please city dwellers but makes them a hard sell to anyone not living in the vicinity of several charging points. The electric motor makes 80 horsepower, providing leisurely acceleration to 100km/h from rest in about 11.5 seconds. For 2019, a hardtop coupe is priced at $32,050 while a cabrio will set you back $29,050.
After showing up in this country fifteen years ago, volume peaked in its first full year on sale in the Great White North, with just over 4000 customers signing on the dotted line. In fact, those with long memories will recall there was actually a six-month waiting list in some particularly hot markets such as major urban areas. Annual sales floated around the 2000 mark for much of the brand’s presence in Canada but petered out in the last couple of years. A total of 368 people anted up in 2017, while 264 took one home last year.
Mercedes-Benz will shift gears on its electric strategy in the US and Canada, instead choosing to place its focus on the newly-introduced EQ models, starting with the arrival of the EQC in 2020.
MBUSA and MB Canada will continue to provide owners of gasoline-powered and electric smart fortwo models with access to service and replacement parts via smart and authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers.
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