Dec 4th, 2007 by RJ Menezes
Seems it’s a “Smart” move after all. More than 30,000 Americans have put down deposits for Smart cars in advance of the brand’s formal U.S. launch next month, Daimler AG executives said today.
The first-year demand will exceed the number of cars that will be built for the United States, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said to a group of reporters. “The Smart ForTwo (a tiny two-seater with a 1-liter engine that gets as much as 45 mpg )will be more than a fad. More consumers will want a fun, safe car that is economical to drive, has low greenhouse gas emissions and is easy to park”. “The only vehicle I privately own is a Smart,” Zetsche said.
There are also talks of a diesel version as well as an all electric Smart. The company is very coy with what their plans are but you can rest assured knowing that they are considering any feasible opportunities to make a profit.
Smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group, is distributing Smart ForTwos. Daimler executives said today that 50 dealerships will be open for the Smart launch.
There will be 65 U.S. dealerships by the end of the first quarter and 74 by the end of 2008, officials said. Thirty-three of those stores will be “co-located” with Mercedes-Benz franchises, said Smart USA President David Schembri. Nine of the dealerships are Penske-owned, said Anders Sundt Jensen, head of global marketing for Smart. He declined to predict total Smart production next year.
The United States is the 37th country in which Smarts will be sold. Globally, more than 770,000 Smarts have been sold in 10 years.
Seems like we’ve been late to this party…