QOTD: Smart Idea, or No?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd smart idea or no

Monday brought news few people feared: the dwindling, one-model Smart brand (we refuse to use a lowercase “S”) is gonzo after 2019, at least in North America. Finally, some of you might be thinking.

It’s not likely there’s a large contingent of readers who can claim to be an owner of a Fortwo, or a Fortwo Electric Drive, or a Fortwo EQ Somethingorother, but it’s not inconceivable that a Smart played some part in your automotive history.

Given that the Smart brand lives on — and is destined to breed a new crop of global vehicles from its future Chinese plant come 2022 — it’s worth asking: can you see the brand returning to these unfriendly shores?

It won’t happen without eased trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and it certainly won’t happen if Daimler and joint venture partner Geely feel the new entity has something really hot. Something so scorching, so sure-fire, that it compels the partners to fund homologation, boat trips, showrooms, and branding.

Future Smarts will be electric, yes, but perhaps not as impractical as the brand’s current roster. And who knows what the future holds in terms of fuel prices and government intervention?

The original Fortwo was an oddity when it appeared. In that pre-recession era, the new, second-generation Fortwo offered a 36 mpg combined figure, a low price, and the ability to park anywhere. Despite the fact that a new, five-speed Corolla could seat five and return 31 mpg combined, five-figure volume occurred in more than one year. Up north, Canadians had access to the first-gen diesel model for a couple of years before the Americans, and that lunchbox-on-wheels’ 40 hp diesel triple returned 62 mpg on the highway.

Frugal.

Future Smarts might carry four passengers, not unlike the overseas-market Forfour, and they’ll certainly boast a driving range far in excess of the current EV model’s 58 miles. Looking three years into the future — when we’re all driving Ford Mach Es or what have you — can you see the Smart brand returning for round two?

[Image: Daimler AG]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 30, 2019

    Meh, I would rather ride bicycle.

  • Charliej Charliej on Apr 30, 2019

    There are quite a few Smarts down here in Mexico. They are very practical here in Mexico with the narrow streets in 500 year old villages. Even Nissan March's are a little to big. Watching someone try to wrestle a large pickup around the village is something to see. You may have to back up three times to get around the corner. So a Smart is a practical car for this area. Or you could do like me and leave the car at home and ride a motorcycle around the village. Cheap Mexican motorcycles start at less than a thousand dollars US. Even Hondas and Yamahas are about a thousand dollars here. Motorcycle heaven.

  • RICK Once had 78 TOWN COUPE and wish I had never let it go! Ultimate OTT excessive luxury! Have since had RWD FLEETWOODS, RWD Fifth Avenues ,as well as 89 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series and current 2007 TOWN CAR Signature Limited! All great cars, but 77 through 79 was KING 🤴 of the road! So sad to see what is now considered a luxury vehicle 😢. Who wants to drive a glorified truck 🚚?
  • Kwik_Shift There are better cars to drop $80G on.
  • 28-Cars-Later Opulence!
  • Kwik_Shift If there is no 2WD Access Cab with 6 speed manual, then I'm not interested.
  • RedDevil Radio Garden is my go to for long trips.Thousands of radio stations all over the worldfor free as long as you have internet. Sure beats hunting for the one or two decent stations in most areas.
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