Smart has struggled to sell its diminutive car in the US, but it keeps hanging in there. Now, it may be poised to take on bigger targets literally. Smart is working on the development of a larger vehicle much like the Mini Countryman.
As a joint venture with Geely and Daimler, the Countryman fighter will debut at the Munich Motor Show this autumn. It is expected to begin production sometime in 2023, so it is still a ways off. Smart’s Countryman-like car will incorporate Chinese EV technology.
The Smart replacement will be larger and look different from previous models
Seating for five adults and the overall larger size is the obvious difference from earlier commuter car attempts. And from a design perspective, it looks nothing like previous Smart offerings. Even the logo has been changed up.
“We have taken the opportunity to reinvent the brand,” Smart designer Gorden Wagener told the UK’s AutoExpress. He said the fascia was meant to be “cool, sexy and grown-up instead of cute and playful”. Inside it is expected that the infotainment system will mimic the Mercedes MBUX design.
The larger Smart will use Geely’s SEA platform
Switching over to Geely it will use their Sustainable Experience Architecture. This underpins a lot of Geely products like Volvo’s small EV and those coming from Lynk & Co and Zeekr. The platform can handle single, dual, and triple motor applications and offers enough room for batteries to give it 430 miles of range.
Also incorporating 800V technology, fast charging should be impressive. Prices should be lower than the Mercedes A-Class and EQA, but obviously larger than current Smart commuters. Figure the size of the Mini Countryman the new Smart car mimics.
A larger Smart model is expected to sell much better in the U.S.
Bigger always seems to sell better in the U.S. so it is expected that this new Smart car will sell much better than previous models. Overall, the Mini brand sold between 40,000 and 65,000 for most of its years in the U.S. It wasn’t until 2019 that sales began to slip below that figure.
Smaller cars like the Scion iQ and Fiat 500 never seemed to catch on here either. And now Americans are definitely moving away from small cars, especially with EVs proliferating. Last year Mini sales were down almost 25 percent to 28,138 sold.
Worldwide, Mini has seen sales hover around 200,000 for years, so Smart is smart to look at knocking Mini off of its perch. But it is questionable whether sales will be really strong in the U.S. MotorBiscuit will follow this to see if and when the Mini Countryman-like Smart car will make it to our shores.