Daimler Gets Smart from Penske Auto Group

Daimler and the Penske Auto Group are in the process of transitioning the distribution rights, management, sales and marketing activities of smart USA from Penske Automotive Group to Mercedes-Benz USA. The transition should be completed by the end of June.

It makes perfect sense as the Smart brand is manufactured by Daimler AG and was recently reorganized in Germany, where Smart is now managed as an independent brand, fully integrated into the Mercedes-Benz Cars business unit of the group.

"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 has achieved here in the U.S."

Interestingly, Smart just delivered its first electric drive vehicle to a Major in the U.S. Army, Mindy Kimball of Silver Spring, MD just over two weeks ago.

Also of note is the fact the brand sold over 100,000 units worldwide in 2010 but less than 6,000 in the U.S.

“I think the U.S. market is uniquely positioned and not a niche market for something that’s not a primary vehicle,” said Tony Pordon of Penske.

http://investors.penskeautomotive.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=82644&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1520529&highlight=

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