We recently reported that Daimler could possibly kill off the SMART brand after years of losing money. One of our own suggestions was that SMART expand into a regular car brand instead of staying in just the micro-car segment. Well, things change quickly in this industry. Yesterday, Daimler paired with Chinese manufacturer Geely in a 50-50 joint venture to bring the next generation of SMART vehicles to China. Part of that expansion will be a move up into the sub-compact market, a fast-growing market in China.
SMART will remain an electric car brand and will be a joint development between the two companies. Though not disclosed at this time, it is possible that SMART will use the platform being jointly developed with BMW for its forthcoming i2 car.
The current SMART cars are on a joint-venture platform shared with the Renault Twingo. Renault has not expressed an interest in renewing that partnership with Daimler for the next generation of cars. Currently, the ForTwo is built in Hambach Germany. After 2022, that factory is slated to build Mercedes EQ cars.