Mercedes-Benz USA and Penske Automotive Group, the world’s second largest automotive dealer, are currently negotiating an agreement that would move the distribution, sales and marketing smart USA to MB USA. This agreement is expected to be completed by the time the second quarter of 2011 ends.
The move is in line with the smart brand’s planned growth strategy, and it will also underscore MB USA’s commitment to providing vehicles that meet future fuel economy standards. This is also an offshoot of the brand’s reorganization that occurred last year. Smart is currently being managed as an independent company even though it is really a part of Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“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 Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz. “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.”
Roger Penske, the chairman of Penske Automotive Group, cited the “unique opportunity” afforded them by the introduction of the smart brand. “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.”
The fuel-efficient smart vehicles are currently on sale in over 40 countries. Since its introduction in 1998, there have been over 1.2 million smart fortwo units sold.