July 15, 2024
Smart to debut larger #3 model at Shanghai auto show

Adelmann said that COVID-related lockdowns in Shanghai at the end of last year affected #1 production ramp up, and the company had to revise the timing of the model’s roll out in Europe.

Smart’s supplier base is in and around Shanghai, and the shutdowns in that area affected Smart production heavily, he said.

In January, Smart opened orders in Germany only. There are 3,500 nonbinding pre-orders, but just 700 units have been produced and are in transit to be delivered to customers. First deliveries began in mid-March.

To shorten the waiting period from order to delivery, Smart has delayed opening orders in France, Italy and Spain to June from March. Other selected European markets, including the U.K., will follow from September.

Adelmann said it takes Smart three months from producing a #1 in its plant in Xi’an, China, to deliver it to European customers. Shipping alone takes six weeks.

Smart declined to give a sales prediction for Europe. The brand’s peak volume was in 2006, with around 130,000 units sold in the region.

Ossuama Kaddoura, a Paris-based dealer and president of the ASP (Smart Partner Association) said his group expects each new Smart model to sell 20,000 to 25,000 units in Europe and that by 2027 the 2006 peak volume could be easily exceeded.

Last year, Smart sold 21,156 vehicles in Europe, a 42 percent decline from 2021, when it sold 36,609 units. The electric ForTwo EQ accounted for 17,333 sales, with the now discontinued ForFour EQ four-seater accounting for 3,585 units, figures from Dataforce show. There were 248 #1s registered, mainly as dealer demonstration units.

The #3 will join a small but growing list of full-electric models in the compact SUV segment, including mainstream contenders from VW Group such as the ID4 and the Cupra Born sibling model; the Nissan Ariya and future Renault Scenic; as well as the next-generation Peugeot 3008 from Stellantis. 

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