Smart Stops Haemorrhaging Red Ink At Last.
“We are not planning an SUV, but never say never”
Mercedes’ Smart subsidiary has stopped losing money, although it won’t say by how much it is making.
This is good news for parent company Daimler shareholders because Smart came top of a champion life-time money losers survey last year organised by Bernstein Research, which showed the car lost a total of about $4.6 billion over the lifetime of the Mark 1 project, the equivalent of $6,100 per car.
The Mark II Smart is now on the road, made in partnership with Renault of France to cut costs, and according to Smart CEO Annette Winkler the car is contributing positively to Mercedes’ bottom line.
She declined to be more specific after giving a speech at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Birmingham, and wouldn’t offer any sales projections for the two-seat ForTwo, which sells globally, or the ForFour on sale in Europe. The sales ratio is about two thirds for the two seater, she said. An electric Smart will go on sale next year.
The latest rear engine Smart is built alongside the Renault Twingo at the French company’s Slovenia plant.
Answering questions after her speech, Winkler said there no plans to produce an SUV.
“We are no planning an SUV, but never say never,” she said.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has previously said if the Smart range was to be increased, he would consider an SUV. Winkler did though rule out a roadster version saying the potential sales were too small. The previous Smart offered a convertible version, until it was cancelled in 2005.