Daimler small car brand's new boss Karen Adt starts on 1 October, former boss Annette Winkler will continue at Daimler as board member for Mercedes South Africa

Daimler has announced former sales executive Katrin Adt as the the new CEO of Smart, replacing Annette Winkler, who steps down at the end of September.

Adt joined Daimler in 1999, and worked in various sales positions until 2013, when she branched out into human resources. 

It's understood that the move aims to reverse Smart's falling sales, which have fallen sharply across Europe since a peak in 2016. Adt was formerly responsible for managing Smart's sales worldwide, and previously held the post as boss of Daimler's luxembourg sales.

Britta Seeger, Mercedes' sales boss, said: “Katrin Adt has years of international experience. With her experience in various management positions in sales and marketing and the companywide management culture initiative Leadership 2020, she will steer Smart into a successful future.”

Adt's successor Winkler was appointed to lead the Daimler brand in 2010 and is praised for ushering in Smart’s electric era, with both the Fortwo and Forfour getting Electric Drive-badged variants during her tenure. She joined Daimler in 1995 as head of PR and communications for Mercedes-Benz. Smart, post-Winkler, will become a "fully electric urban mobility brand".

Steve Cropley: Why I'm glad Smart is going all-electric

Dieter Zetsche, head of Daimler, said: “As a true entrepreneurial personality, she has led Smart to new successes and systematically transformed it into an electric mobility brand. Under Annette Winkler’s leadership, the smart plant in Hambach has continually improved its competitiveness and is extremely well positioned for the future.”

Winkler said: “One of the key responsibilities of every executive is to pass on leading positions to the next generation at the right time. And that time has now come — with the clear focus of smart as a fully electric urban mobility brand and with the decision to develop the Hambach facility into a plant for fully electric vehicles within the Mercedes-Benz production network.”

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Smart's global sales under Winkler have increased steadily, from just below 100,000 in 2010, to 135,868 last year, after a 2016 peak of 143,719, according to JATO figures. The brand has had some difficulty maintaining sales, however; last year's figure almost matches that of 2008, when the brand had only one model in its lineup, rather than the two cars offered today. The Fortwo has fallen across this timeframe, from 115,900 sales in 2009, to 95,000 in 2017. 

Things have not been plain sailing elsewhere; in the US, Smart became an electric-only brand as petrol sales were heavily outnumbered by their plug-in counterparts. Around 7100 alternatively-fuelled Smarts were sold last year - only modest growth over around 6100 in 2014. 74% of Smart's sales were in Europe last year, 

Winkler will continue to work for Daimler as a board member for Mercedes-Benz South Africa from September 2019. 

Read more:

Smart Vision EQ makes public debut as 'electric city car of future'

Porsche 911 Turbo S vs Smart Fortwo: a real-world race across Wales

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet Electric Drive 2017 review

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Comments
5

29 May 2018

apart from a cash plug hole for Benz?

unless there is an infrastructure like the Kei cars in Japan where it is distinctly financially beneficial. 

If they were really Smart they’d have lobbied governments to introduce tax breaks and other incentives to make it worthwhile.

Instead you’re buying an expensive compromised 2 seater, or a hideously expensive uncompetitive 4 seater  

Sorry but I just don’t understand why it’s still in business - someone enlighten me

 

 

 

You're not stuck in traffic - you are traffic!!

29 May 2018

What is the point of smart? If you have to ask, it isn't for you ;) 

<p></p>I've owned plenty of them over the years, pretty much all but the first forfour. The fortwos are easy to park, and do make great city cars. When they were launched back in 98, they had equipment options that were unheard of at that time. Aircon, heat seats, semi auto (albeit awful), and a small turbo engine for example. Perfect? Nope, but that was what made them special and full of character. The roadsters were great apart from leaks. My husband has a current gen forfour. On finance, no other small city car came close for cost vs spec, it turns on a dime, its very economical in the city and out, seats 4 easily with wide opening doors, and is surprisingly comfortable on longer journeys. 

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29 May 2018

Anyway, rather sad that they are going all electric soon. I think that might kill the brand off. While I think an electric version should be available, I don't think it will be suitable for most people. We wouldn't buy it for example, as we have no where to charge it. I live in Edinburgh, and there are very few charging points, none near me. I can't charge at home as, like most people here and in other cities where the appeal of a smart is greater, I live in a flat and park no where nearby.

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30 May 2018

Perhaps a good time to kill off the ForTwo and focus on 3 and 5 door versions of the ForFour as a range of Mercedes-Benz Smarts sitting below the now large A series. There may be money to be made competing against VW Up! and similar.

22 June 2018
rmcondo wrote:

Perhaps a good time to kill off the ForTwo and focus on 3 and 5 door versions of the ForFour as a range of Mercedes-Benz Smarts sitting below the now large A series. There may be money to be made competing against VW Up! and similar.

Why? According to the article they make up two thirds of their sales roughly. I'm surprised they haven't got a ForFive based on the Clio, or a new version of the ill-fated GLK vased ForMore and based it on the Capture/Juke. The ForFive could be MINI/A1 rival, ForMore a Q2/Countryman. As I've said before, going all electric now isn't the time and they'll fall into oblivion

 

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