SMART may be the next brand heading for that great parking lot in the sky. German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that the brand's fate may be decided by the end of this year. CEO Dieter Zetsche is leaving in May to be succeeded by Olin Kallenius. Mr. Kallenius has no strong love for the brand, established in 1998 and is said to be more than willing to kill the brand if finances warrant it.
Since birth, SMART has lost billions of euros for Daimler, though the company does not break out financials by brand.
Back in 2017, SMART revamped its lineup into an EV only brand, further denting sales while increasing costs. The current Smart FourTwo and FourFour are a joint effort with automaker Renault who markets the vehicle as the Renault Twingo. Renault is reportedly reluctant to renew that cooperation for the next generation of the car. SMART's sales have fallen to around 128,000 units a year as of 2018.