Smart Automobiles says its first new model jointly owned by Mercedes and Geely will be named # 1 as part of a hashtag game.
# 1 will be released “later this year,” Smart said, as part of a “#” model lineup. The carmaker released the number 1 camouflage photos, showing a four-door hatchback with a high belt.
Smart said its first model would be an SUV, although published photos appear to show a more conventional hatchback or crossover.
The hashtag symbol was chosen because it is “evocative of setting trends in the digital age,” Smart said.
“Being the first product to be launched following the brand’s renewal, Smart # 1 perfectly combines electric drive technology and premium quality,” said Daniel Lescow, vice president of global sales and marketing, in a statement.
The style and name of the new Smart were anticipated by the Concept # 1 presented in September last year at the Munich Motor Show. The SUV will use Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture. The EV modular platform will also support Geely-owned Volvo Cars and Lynk & CO cars.
A complicated relationship
At 4290 mm long, the concept was longer than the 3495 mm Smart ForFour that the production version will replace. # 1 would compete in Europe with a limited number of small premium cars, crossovers and SUVs, including the DS 3 Crossback, which has a fully electric version, Honda-e and Mini Electric.
However, Smart has been a constant waste of money since its inception. Evercore ISI financial analysts estimated in 2020 that Smart lost up to 700 million euros annually.
In early 2020, Mercedes-Benz and Geely, owned by billionaire Eric Li, announced that Smart would become a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies, each investing $ 388.77 million. Geely holds a 9.7% stake in Mercedes.
Geely and Mercedes are betting that young consumers living in China will help rejuvenate the Smart brand. Mercedes will design Smart vehicles, and Geely will handle production at a plant in Xian, China, with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles annually.