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Smart Cars Hit Upon Titanic Approval



Smart cars finding huge acceptance among U.S. consumers, Penske Auto Group says. Penske presses Daimler to ship more Smart Cars. Roughly 1,400 Smarts were delivered in January, and PAG anticipates delivering 1,500 for February and an additional 2,000 in March. Smart cars finding huge acceptance among U.S. consumers, Penske Auto Group says. Penske presses Daimler to ship more Smart Cars. Roughly 1,400 Smarts were delivered in January, and PAG anticipates delivering 1,500 for February and an additional 2,000 in March. Smart cars finding huge acceptance among U.S. consumers, importer says

DETROIT -- Daimler AG's tiny Smart car has made a big splash in the U.S. with sales off to a speedy start in its first month on the market, distributor Penske Auto Group said this week.

"We're really excited about the Smart business," Roger Penske said. "We think it's the right car at the right time."

Smart USA expects to sell between 20,000 and 25,000 this year, and Penske said he was pressing Daimler to ship more vehicles.

The Smart is the first French-built car sold in the U.S. in more than 20 years, and 68 dealerships opened nationwide in mid-January.

Some 1,400 Smart fortwos were delivered in January, and the company expects to deliver 1,500 more in February and another 2,000 in March, Penske said. Penske introduced Smart to the U.S. with a nationwide tour last year to demonstrate its reliability on long distances. More than 50,000 people took a test drive and 30,000 others attended road-show demonstrations.

The bulk of the advertising budget has been spent on an Internet campaign, Penske said.

Startup costs have been modest, at about $4 million, since its launch in January '07, Penske said.

Source: The Province Published: Friday, February 22, 2008
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