Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and Penske Automotive Group yesterday announced they have started discussions to transition the distribution rights, management, sales and marketing activities of smart USA from to Mercedes-Benz USA. The transition is expected to occur by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
The proposed change marks a further step in implementing the future growth strategy of the smart brand. It also reflects last year’s reorganization at smart headquarters in Germany, where smart is now managed as an independent brand, but is fully integrated into Mercedes-Benz Cars business unit of Daimler AG.
“We are very excited about working toward integration of smart into the MBUSA organization, and look forward to working with our dealer partners to exceed customer expectations for this unique vehicle,” said Mercedes-Benz President and CEO, Ernst Lieb. “The addition of smart, combined with our Autohaus dealer initiative, will help us build upon the tremendous momentum the Mercedes-Benz brand had achieved here in the U.S.”
“Introducing the smart brand to the U.S. has been a unique opportunity for us,” said Penske Automotive Group Chairman Roger Penske. “Over the last three years I’ve experienced the passion consumers express for the brand as we delivered over 45,000 vehicles. Aligning smart distribution with Daimler, as it is worldwide, is the logical next step for the smart brand in the U.S. This alignment will enable the smart brand to grow through the Mercedes-Benz dealership network and lead the way in conservation and meeting future fuel economy standards.”
“Roger Penske and his team successfully paved the way for the smart brand in the US. The integration of the smart wholesale into our own national sales organization is an important part of our global growth strategy for smart,” said Dr. Annette Winkler, Vice President smart. “This is an important step towards the success of the smart brand in the US market.”
The addition of the fuel efficient smart fortwo and smart fortwo electric vehicles to the Mercedes-Benz USA’s product portfolio underscore the company’s commitment to meet even more stringent fuel economy standards in the future. The smart fortwo achieves EPA estimated 41 mpg in highway driving. Manufactured by Daimler AG, smart is currently sold in more than 40 countries, and more than 1.2 million smart fortwo have been sold worldwide since 1998. Since then smart has established itself as the think tank for urban and electric mobility for Daimler AG and plays an important role in the Corporation’s plans to make innovative future mobility concepts such as car2go available in Europe and the United States.
Source: Daimler AG