Electric car maker smart aims to duplicate this year its sales feat in 2011, despite the declining demand for new cars in Europe, and the shortage of new products. Annette Winkler, Smart's global head, told Automotive News Europe that the company is “working unbelievably hard” to sell more than 100,000 units in 2012.
She said that in order to achieve the target, smart will take advantage of markets where new-car sales are rising, like China and the United States.
In China, the electric car maker sold 11,045 units in 2011 and about 3,000 cars in the first two months of 2012.In the US, the company posted a 50% rise in sales for the first two months of 2012 to 1,265 cars, according to the Automotive News Data Center. As for its global sales for the first two months of 2012, the company posted a 17% rise in sales to 16,031 units.
In 2011, smart sold 102,000 units, despite offering only the two-seat ForTwo microcar. The company’s best year was in 2008, when the Daimler AG unit sold 134,000 units from its three model lines. For this year, the company has to put up with a refreshed ForTwo, since the brand’s successor as well as an all-new four-seat model will only be available in the first half of 2014, according to a Daimler spokesman.
The refreshed ForTwo will be a full-electric version that will be sold in Europe starting June 2012. The company expects to sell around 10,000 units of the battery-powered ForTwo for a full year of sales. The car has a starting price of EUR19,000 in Germany. Drivers will also have to shell EUR70 out every month for the battery, which has a 10-year guarantee.
As part of the strategy to maintain the demand for the ForTwo, smart plans to produce special editions of the model that will allow customers to make it as individualized or as basic as they want, according to Winkler. Smart also expects an increase in sales for the ForTwo units that will be supplemented to its Car2Go car-sharing program, which is already operating in Ulm, Dusseldorf and Hamburg, Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands.