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DaimlerChrylser To Bring Next-Gen Smart Car to US in 1Q 2008

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The current smart fortwo.

DaimlerChrysler will bring the successor to the smart fortwo to the US market in 1Q 2008, according to Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management DaimlerChrysler AG. The new smart will be distributed by international automotive retailer UnitedAuto Group (UAG), which will establish between 30 and 50 smart dealerships initially.

The successor to the smart fortwo will be available in US markets in three models. These will not initially include the diesel, although both diesel and a micro-hybrid are potential future products, according to UAG Chairman Roger Penske.

Following the success of the smart fortwo in Europe with more than 750,000 attracted customers and the increasing demand for affordable and fuel efficient small cars in the USA, we are now bringing this new kind of mobility to US 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.

—Dieter Zetsche

The announcement was expected, although DaimlerChrysler reportedly had considered cancelling the smart line. Earlier this year, DaimlerChrysler absorbed the smart organization into the Mercedes group, and decided to focus on the smart fortwo car, cancelling the planned production of the smart forfour. (Earlier post.)

DaimlerChrysler has sold 750,000 smart cars worldwide since their introduction in 1998. In Canada, 4,000 smarts were sold last year—a major increase above the target of 1,500 the company had set.

Pricing is not established, although Penske said he expects to sell the car below $15,000.

UnitedAuto Group is the second-largest auto dealer in the US and is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. UAG operates 296 retail automotive franchises, representing 40 different brands, and 27 collision repair centers.

Comments

Troy Koon

I test drove a Smart fortwo today in Mesa Az. I'm 6 ft 3 and 260 pounds, I had pleanty of room. Such a wonderful idea, but the engine is way too large. The GEO Metro XFI's had smaler engines and got better milage. Smart should offer a model with a smaller, high MPG option. BUT...this car is a hoot to drive, very fun, the first fun to drive car that I have driven in a long time. Please don't ruin the thing by adding all the horse power....the rush hr traffic out here goes less than 35 anyway.

Scott

People who think they need big heavy vehicles for safety should ask themselves if they need them badly enough for young Americans to fight for the extra fuel that they use because that's not safe either. They should include their own family members and the families of their closest friends in that thought process. All that extra fuel comes at a price that is not limited to dollars. The US currently imports 60% of its oil with about one third of those imports coming from Canada and Mexico, where we do not need a military presence to ensure our access to oil markets. Small cars like the Smart and the Matiz that get over 70 mpg and better would reduce US oil demand to the point where we would not need any middle eastern oil. How important is it really to have a 5000 pound vehicle with a 300 hp engine? Is it important enough for someone to die for it? Or would it make more sense to have an 1800 pound car with a 55 hp engine that didn't need any OPEC oil? Sure, small city cars don't make sense for everyone all the time, but there are way too many people driving huge powerful cars in cities and suburbs who either don't think about the consequences or don't care.

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