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If you think it's been a long wait for these cars up until now...

From Reuters.com:

AUTOSHOW-Daimler says to sell Smart car in China from '09
Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:07am EDT

BEIJING, April 20 (Reuters) - Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) will sell its Smart small car in China from next year, head of sales and marketing Klaus Maier said on Saturday.

"By the middle of next year, the Chinese can buy the Smart which is very well suited for this market," he told reporters at the Beijing Auto Show. (Reporting by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Ben Tan)
 

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if this story is accurate, then i see no good for the US coming from this announcement. :(
Maybe not a big deal as Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd. has been there in Beijing for a while now, and one would assume that they would be built there with cheap Chinese labor (and likely cheap raw materials). But then you have to think about the possibility of M-B distrubuting Chinese-made replacement parts!

A problem could be in perception - that smart is now an entry-level Sino-European vehicle, unless M-B steps up and really puts their stamp on the car (and maybe the tristar).
 

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Yep, I've been saying it all along.. that the next smart"vile" will be built there, just like all the other companies. Then, we will see really "accurate" lookalikes. It's inevitable.
 

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I doubt it will make too big of a splash in China since they already have lots of tiny autos including the coolest little micro-vans.
 

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Curtis

You may be mis reading the tea leaves...

USA pop 300 Million.... 24,000~ 26,000 max imports of smart fortwo...currently over 50,000 orders and climbing despite the insane "insider" joke reservation model (pun intended)

China's population exceeds us by such a large margin that you can predict most sales figures of any commodity by a factor of 5~7 vs USA sales of similar items.....

They have a growing middle class that will exceed the American middle class numerically in short order (less then 2 years I read some where)... in fact, several of China's very large cities already have population numbers of reasonably affluent income levels on par with the USA demographics

I predict smart China sales will exceed USA sales by a large margin, they will get the diesel version, they will get a full electric version, and they may be the market that propels the smart into the history books as ultimately selling more small "peoples" cars then VW ever did
 

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I forsee them parterning with a local automotive company to do kit builds, Smartville would never be able to keep up with demand, and the car would be substantially cheaper with a made in home market car. Many auto companies already do this, and it would make sense.
 

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Fred, I understand China very well, I do alot of business w/ China and travel there about 3-4 times per year. When they get a smart it will be made in China, the taxes on outside built autos is so high they would never pay that price for a smart. I was just saying that the novelty of a quirky little car is nothing new to the Asian market. In the USA it is such a big deal when we got the mini and now the smart but we have been so used to seeing boring cars and SUV's while the rest of the world has been seeing cool little cars for years.
 

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This probably has something to do with the "copycat" version of the Smart made in China. It looks almost identical to the Smart. Maybe this is Smart's way of trying to slow the sales by offering the original in their own market which let's the consumers see the quality difference. It might also give them some leverage with China to put pressure on the manufacturer in some fashion or even put them in position to merge or buy the plant? Smart needs to protect their label and the world is multi-national.

http://www.adgoog.com/blog/photo/137...anghuan_s6.jpg
 

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curtis... seems your perspective is probably much more current and relevant then mine.... it has been a very long time since my last visit to Asia.

I have followed a lot of the recent marketing issues in several Asian countries... so the demographics angle is purely numerical perspective...

I admit, Popularity, Western-ness, Cost, and Practicality are serious considerations. Your take on it is appreciated
 

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Speaking purly of numbers

Anything that increases the number of units sold makes it more likely to get more aftermarket interest in the car going. The current production numbers have got to be less than an hour of GM's output VS smart for the year. Our car is a very small niche in the world automotive, would like to see it do well.
karl
 

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+1 on this opinion - specially with the quirky little cars. OTH, if Mercedes markets it as a "Mercedes", it might bump up their marketshare quite a bit. Chinese buy cars for status as much as if not more than practicality.

The smart will still be rather unusual because there do not seem to be too many 2-door cars there.



Fred, I understand China very well, I do alot of business w/ China and travel there about 3-4 times per year. When they get a smart it will be made in China, the taxes on outside built autos is so high they would never pay that price for a smart. I was just saying that the novelty of a quirky little car is nothing new to the Asian market. In the USA it is such a big deal when we got the mini and now the smart but we have been so used to seeing boring cars and SUV's while the rest of the world has been seeing cool little cars for years.
 

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I'm not opposed to buying a Chinese smart, but a half hour later I'm gonna want another one. :)
 

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Hollywood !

IMO. When the Smart becomes throughly Hollywood-ized. and starts appearing in US movies, TV ads and world press, with Celebrity's driving them, sales will boom all over Asia. :)

In China, only the Japanese engine will cost Smart sales.

A2Jack
 

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SmartPassion, you are correct, they love their Euro status autos and if you do a little searching you will see MB already make a very similar mini car with MB badges, they sell them in Europe and in Japan. Last time I was in Japan I thought I saw a Smart dealer and as I got closer to it I realized they were selling micro MB's, also on the same street I saw a smart roadster drive by.
As I said in earlier post, we in the USA are far behind the rest of the world when i comes to cool cars.
It seems the USA has this infatuation with giant SUV's that make all the soccer moms feel safe... I think it's funny that they feel safe yet driving a Giant Hummer or Escalade the endanger anyone else on the road they may crash into that doesn't have the luxury of a $50,000 SUV. I hope they enjoy the gas prices, but then again if you drop 50 G's on a car you better not ***** about $4 gas!
 

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Within 5 years China will consume more new cars than the US, GM already sells more Chinese Buicks than US market Buicks. China is GM's largest market after the US and already has at least 12 indigenous car makers, some in partnership with foreign makers. Manufacturers love China, 10% of it's population consumes nearly as much as we americans do right now while to other 90% are destitute.

The cars GM sells in places like China and Dubai, Saudi Arabia, etc. are on par with BMW, Mercedes, etc. If you don't believe me google 2008 Chevrolet Caprice and see what the middle eastern world gets, the Buicks for Chinese consumption are nicer than the Lucerne you get here.
 
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