• SMART vehicles coming to USA starting 2008

    smart go usa

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management DaimlerChrysler AG (NYSE: DCX) and head of Mercedes Car Group today announced that the unique and urban-friendly smart brand will enter the U.S. market. Beginning in 2008, the successor to the smart fortwo will be available in U.S. markets in three models. The U.S.A., as the world’s largest automotive market, will be the 37th market for smart.

The Parties have agreed on the framework for the exclusive distribution of smart vehicles by international automotive retailer UnitedAuto Group, Inc. (NYSE:UAG). UnitedAuto will be responsible for awarding potential dealers and developing and maintaining a smart vehicle dealership network throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman of the Board of Management and head of Mercedes Car Group Dieter Zetsche said, “Following the success of the smart fortwo in our first North American market, Canada, and the increasing demand for affordable and fuel efficient small cars in the U.S.A., we are now bringing this new kind of mobility to U.S. cities. The time has never been better for this – and I am convinced that the smart fortwo as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle, as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris."

Like its predecessor, the smart fortwo successor will have all the important features that make customers feel safer and more comfortable. As part of the Mercedes Car Group, the smart vehicle will be equipped with unique technology, including the “hard shell” tridion safety cell, ESP and various airbag systems.

UnitedAuto expects to qualify potential dealers using an open process that will focus on their commitment to the brand and strategic locations in key markets with facilities that meet the needs of the brand and the customer. Demonstration of outstanding customer satisfaction metrics will also be a key element to qualify for the franchise. The initial rollout of retail outlets is expected to start in mid-2007, with the official launch of the smart brand planned to occur later that year. The smart vehicle is expected to be sold in the U.S. starting in early 2008.

UnitedAuto Chairman Roger Penske remarked, “We are thrilled with the opportunity to represent the smart brand in the United States and Puerto Rico. Through our international diversification, we’ve seen the benefits the smart brand provides in Europe. We believe the U.S. market will embrace the smart vehicle with its exceptional fuel economy, environmentally friendly features, and advantageous price point. We look forward to a successful launch of this vehicle over the next several years.”

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