daimler subsidiary smart reinvents itself and unveils an electric SUV at the IAA – produced in china
- Under the new joint venture that daimler and geely entered into in 2019, smart will become a chinese electro brand.
- The cars will be developed and produced in china. The brand is also to be positioned differently.
- A near-production study of a four-meter SUV is to be unveiled at the IAA in early september. The series-produced model with up to 250 hp is expected to arrive from china in two years at the latest.
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Relatively generous space on what feels like the footprint of a phone booth, coupled with the turning circle of a motorcycle – the first smart fortwo was a revolutionarily clever concept in 1998 and quickly populated major international cities. But despite the initially good sales figures, daimler never managed to get out of the red with the daughter brand, which specializes in very small cars. Even the four-seater fourfour and the roadster, which impresses with its high level of agility, have not changed this.
Only electric on the road since 2020
At the beginning of 2020, smart then took a big step that not only fit in well with the current zeitgeist, but was actually long overdue. After a short sales stop, the company returned as a pure electric brand. a few months earlier, daimler and the geely group had formed the joint venture smart automobile co. launched, which is likely to be even more significant for the future of the brand. The Chinese industry giant, which also includes volvo and its electric brand polestar, and the traditional Swabian group each hold 50 percent of the joint venture company. in addition, geely founder li shufu is one of daimler’s major shareholders.
The SUV hardly fits into the original concept
Now smart has published a first teaser image on its social media channels, showing the first product of the joint venture from above. And the rounded flanks of the vehicle pictured are not misleading: the brand once known for its practical city cars is actually launching an SUV on the market.
According to the trade magazine auto motor und sport, the electric high seat will be just under four meters long. As a result, the new interpretation of the brand, which is to be unveiled at the IAA mobility in munich in early september, towers over the current forfour by half a meter and is by far the largest smart of all time. However, according to a linkedin post by smart’s deputy head of sales daniel lescow, the exhibit at the trade show will still be a design study.
Production will also be relocated to the Far East
Daniel lescow has also published the first technical details and information on the basis of the SUV on the social network. The vehicle will be based on the geely group’s new SEA architecture, which is not only said to be particularly safe but also, according to the company, enables fast charging processes. The smart SUV is also set to enter completely new regions not only in terms of size but also in terms of performance. The rear-mounted engine is said to have 250 hp, while the lithium-ion battery with a capacity of up to 70 kWh is expected to provide a maximum range of 500 kilometers.
But it’s not just the platform that will soon be coming from the Far East; with the launch of the SUV model, production is also to be relocated from the smart plant in hambach, eastern France, to china. The modern five-seater is, of course, also to be launched on the market in europe. The first examples of the production model are expected to roll into dealerships in either 2022 or 2023. Despite the supposed reinvention of the brand, smart does not want to withdraw completely from the traditional subcompact segment. At least the fortwo is to be given a successor by the joint venture. The future of the renault twingo clone smart forfour, on the other hand, is a big question mark.