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Smart Cars: US Sales of Gas Microcars Stopping So They Can Go Electric

Image: Smart Cars: US Sales of Gas Microcars Stopping So They Can Go Electric

A Smart fortwo cabrio Brabus Exclusive is on display during the 14th Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, also known as Auto China 2016, in Beijing, China, on April 25, 2016. (Imaginechina via AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 05:59 AM

Mercedes-Benz plans to stop selling its gas-powered Smart cars in the U.S. after the 2017 model year, focusing on electric versions of the microcar instead.

The Smart car was introduced at a time when gas prices were significantly higher than they have been over the last few years, which drove the popularity of the smaller cars that were lighter and would get better gas mileage than bigger, heavier cars.

Sales of the two-seat, 8-foot, 8-inch long cars have declined as gas prices have eased, with only 6,211 being sold last year, USA Today reported. That was a 17 percent decline from the previous year.

When Mercedes started to move away from the Smart car in its Car2go car sharing program, it showed the tiny car’s days were probably coming to an end.

Although the microcars get 40 miles to the gallon, that really isn’t much more than many economy cars get today, and consumers may not feel the tradeoffs in space and seating are worth a few extra miles to the gallon, USA Today theorized.

The cars are built in France but are sold primarily in the U.S. and Canada, never really having caught on in Germany and elsewhere overseas.

Production of the gas-powered Smart cars will end in April, and sales will continue until stock runs out, Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Rob Moran said, the New York Daily News reported. Special pricing is available for 2016 coupes still in stock.

Electric versions of the car are zero emissions, according to the Daily News.

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Mercedes-Benz plans to stop selling its gas-powered Smart cars in the U.S. after the 2017 model year, focusing on electric versions of the microcar instead.
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Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 05:59 AM
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