When the tiny Smart ForTwo launched in the U.S. a decade ago, it got a huge boost in sales from both novelty and soaring gas prices.

While its EPA ratings never approached those of the larger Toyota Prius hybrid, the little two-seater found buyers who liked its cheeky character and the ease of parking a car less than 9 feet long.

Its first-year sales of 24,000 proved to be its high point, however.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: first drive of electric two-seat car

Last year, only 6,200 Smarts were sold, despite an all-new model that represented the first clean-sheet design for the two-seater since the late 1990s.

Yesterday, German business outlet Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Smart's parent company, Daimler, will stop selling gasoline-powered Smarts in the U.S. and Canada altogether.

As covered by Reuters, the German paper said that as of September, all Smart ForTwos sold in North America will be fully electric.

The change was confirmed to Green Car Reports this morning by Rob Moran, director of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz USA.

The company announced the decision to dealers yesterday in a letter sent under the signature of Dietmar Exler, head of Mercedes-Benz USA.

That letter said that the 2017 model year would be the last for Smarts with gasoline engines in North America.

CHECK OUT: 2016 Smart ForTwo: First Drive Of All-New Two-Seat Minicar (Aug 2015)

"Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio," Exler wrote.

"A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero-emissions future."

"This decision is consistent," Moran added, "with our CASE initiative (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric) initiative  and a long term focus on emissions free vehicles."

2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive - first drive, Miami, Nov 2016 [photo: Jeff Jablansky]

2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive - first drive, Miami, Nov 2016 [photo: Jeff Jablansky]

2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

The electric version of the little Smart two-seater first went on limited sale in the U.S. in 2010.

Volume sales began in 2012 with an updated battery pack, and an electric version of the redesigned latest Smart goes on sale this year.

The gasoline Smart now on sale in the U.S. uses a 0.9-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine paired either to a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that shifts automatically.

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The EPA fuel-economy ratings for those two models are 33 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined for the DCT version, and 31 city, 39 highway, 34 mpg combined for the manual.

Despite the Smart's small size, those ratings pale against the 52-mpg and 56-mpg combined ratings of the 2017 Toyota Prius and Prius Eco models, respectively.

Starting in 2018, then, it appears that Smart will join Tesla as one of only two brands selling solely battery-electric models in the U.S

It will also be the only make selling an electric car with a soft top.


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