Mark Webster, the recently appointed general manager of Smart USA, expects the brand to post a little growth in the next two years. Webster's expectation comes despite the rollout of an electric vehicle and plans for four special-edition models. Smart USA logged a 92-percent surge in sales of its ForTwo microcar to 10,009 units in 2012, after parent Daimler took over its distribution in the United States from Penske Automotive Group.
The increase was also attributed to Daimler's move to boost marketing and employ TV commercials for the first time. Webster, however, said sales will linger at around 10,000 cars every year until a redesigned ForTwo is launched in August 2015.
He remarked that the recent rollout of the ForTwo Electric plug-in battery electric would not affect much its sales in 2013 since the unit would not be available in all 50 US states until fall.
Webster said while EV supplies will improve in 2014, overall Smart sales would be affected by the dwindling inventory of the current ForTwo.
He remarked the ForTwo EV and special-edition models that will be launched this year signify the brand's new strategy. Webster remarked that Smart requires a different marketing approach than Mercedes-Benz. He noted that they treat the brand differently since it is eyed on different customer base. [source: automotive news - sub. required]