Smart loses two-thirds of its dealer network after EV shift

You\'re more likely to find a Lotus dealer than a smart dealer in the United States.

Over two-thirds of smart dealerships in the United States have announced plans to stop selling the tiny two-seater in the wake of the company's sudden shift towards electrification.

There are currently 85 dealers in smart's American distribution network. 58 of them will drop the franchise and slowly transition to providing exclusively service and parts, leaving just 27 dealers scattered across the nation.

The fallout comes after smart decided to stop selling gasoline-powered cars in the U.S. and in Canada in an attempt to boost sales. The company will go electric-only in time for the 2018 model year, and it's offering attractive lease deals on its remaining 2016 and 2017 models to clear out its fossil fuel-powered inventory.

Automotive News points out smart will soon have the smallest dealer network of any major car brand present in the U.S. Rolls-Royce sells cars through 35 dealers, Lotus -- which sold just 12 cars last year -- has 41 dealers, and there are 31 Lamborghini dealers from coast to coast.

The fate of the smart brand in the U.S. -- and, arguably, globally -- depends on whether the fortwo electric drive finally meets expectations. However, the two-seater might be a tough sell because it starts at $24,550 before shipping and incentives are factored in, which makes it nearly $10,000 more than the outgoing gas-burning model.

Photos by Ronan Glon.

Read more!