The decision on whether DaimlerAG's Smart subsidiary will expand its lineup by launching an electric motorcycle and an electric scooter will be made this summer, according to the unit's boss, Annette Winkler. The decline in Smart’s car sales is likely to be a factor on whether the business case would be deemed a positive one.
On the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, Winkler told Automotive News Europe that currently, the business case is looking positive. Talks are underway between Smart and potential production partners, but Winkler didn’t name the motorcycle makers that Smart is negotiating with. Smart revealed the concepts for the two-wheelers at the Paris auto show in October 2010.
For 2011, Smart predicts that sales will exceed 90,000 units, compared with 97,500 in 2010 and about 134,000 in 2008. Smart’s biggest markets were Germany, Italy, the UK, France and the U.S. In 2010, U.S. sales fell to 5,930, compared with 24,000 units in 2008, its first year of sales in the country.
It’s expected that the successor to the current Smart ForTwo two-seat minicar will start selling at the end of 2013 at the earliest. In 2014, a four-seat Smart is expected to follow. Before these however, Smart's only innovation will be a full-electric ForTwo, which is set to be launched in 2012 with anticipated sales of 10,000.
Winkler said that electric Smart sales may be combined with offers. For instance, it could include the offer of renting a larger car on a short-term basis. In addition, Winkler aims to attract new customers by selling individualized ForTwo models.
Considered oftentimes as unconventional, the smart eScooter is also practical and is a perfect vehicle for the big city as it can be used in different ways. Offering exemplary comfort and exceptional manoeuvrability, as well as innovative safety features, this electric scooter is indeed a good alternative, or even improvement, to the car. Examples of its safety features include the airbag, Blind Spot Assist, and anti-lock brake system.
Annette Winkler relates that the company has continued its practice of "vision smart" and this is seen with the eScooter. It makes driving in the city more fun as it can easily adapt to the current living environment.
It is even made to be more flexible, Winkler continues. This could be because there is a chance that it could become part of the company’s car2go concept, she added. By having the single lane smart eScooter, the company hopes to tap into a possible new growth potential.
This will also enable the company to reach younger people, especially those who have yet to get their driving licence. The eScooter also has the "e-drive" configured to it, bringing with it functional advantages as well as environmental advantages.
Clearly, the smart eScooter has the prerequisites individuals need when it comes to urban mobility concepts like the car2go. Winkler says that with the eScooter, the company has managed to display that it has an open and integrated approach on the matter of 'urban mobility'.
What makes smart special, she adds, is the pragmatic approach combined with the company’s very own fun factor. The company has long seen mobility as a mixture of emotion and responsibility, Winkler continues, and the smart eScooter is able to meet this need in every respect.
Founded on a sophisticated ergonomic concept, the unconventional and independent design of the eScooter helps enhance the first impression one gets. It displays pure joie de vivre and introduces a surprising yet fresh element to urban traffic.
The electric scooter has been designed in a way that highlights the sporty and attractive proportions. When looked at from the side, the front has a compact and sorted look. Underlining the agility and forward thrust of the eScooter are the rear wheels that look as if they have been placed way behind its seat area.
The designers often mention an "iconic" design and this is why the elegant and dynamic look is helped by accentuated lines and complete surfaces. Improving the trendy and high-value impression of the eScooter are the crafted details which further highlight its already cool appearance.
This includes, among many others, the flush-fitted rear light and the delicate cockpit panelling. While the design is apparent, practical solutions are also offered like amazing safety and ease of handling.