The Parties have agreed on the framework for the exclusive distribution of smart vehicles by international automotive retailer UnitedAuto Group, Inc. (NYSE:UAG). UnitedAuto will be responsible for awarding potential dealers and developing and maintaining a smart vehicle dealership network throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman of the Board of Management and head of Mercedes Car Group Dieter Zetsche said, â€śFollowing the success of the smart fortwo in our first North American market, Canada, and the increasing demand for affordable and fuel efficient small cars in the U.S.A., we are now bringing this new kind of mobility to U.S. cities. The time has never been better for this â€“ and I am convinced that the smart fortwo as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle, as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris."
Like its predecessor, the smart fortwo successor will have all the important features that make customers feel safer and more comfortable. As part of the Mercedes Car Group, the smart vehicle will be equipped with unique technology, including the â€śhard shellâ€ť tridion safety cell, ESP and various airbag systems.
UnitedAuto expects to qualify potential dealers using an open process that will focus on their commitment to the brand and strategic locations in key markets with facilities that meet the needs of the brand and the customer. Demonstration of outstanding customer satisfaction metrics will also be a key element to qualify for the franchise. The initial rollout of retail outlets is expected to start in mid-2007, with the official launch of the smart brand planned to occur later that year. The smart vehicle is expected to be sold in the U.S. starting in early 2008.
UnitedAuto Chairman Roger Penske remarked, â€śWe are thrilled with the opportunity to represent the smart brand in the United States and Puerto Rico. Through our international diversification, weâ€™ve seen the benefits the smart brand provides in Europe. We believe the U.S. market will embrace the smart vehicle with its exceptional fuel economy, environmentally friendly features, and advantageous price point. We look forward to a successful launch of this vehicle over the next several years.â€ť
For further information about the smart vehicles please refer to www.media.smart.com or www.smartusa.com.
United Auto Group, Inc., headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, operates 296 retail automotive franchises, representing 40 different brands, and 27 collision repair centers. UnitedAuto, which sells new and previously owned vehicles, finance and insurance products and replacement parts, and offers maintenance and repair services on all brands it represents, has 173 franchises in 19 states and Puerto Rico and 123 franchises located internationally, primarily in the United Kingdom. UnitedAuto is a member of the Fortune 500 and Russell 2000 and has approximately 14,000 employees.
Since October 1998 the smart fortwo has attracted more than 750,000 customers in 36 countries. As a brand of DaimlerChrysler, smart benefits from the parent corporation's technical expertise and extensive experience in the automotive business. The successor to the smart fortwo will be launched in Europe next year and will be available in the USA for the first time the following year.
smart, as one of the youngest car makes on the market, stands for innovation, functionality and joie de vivre and especially appeals to customers who are interested in new, clever and trend-setting solutions in the automotive sector. smart drivers are characterized by attitude, not by age, profession, gender or any other 'traditional' criteria clustering groups of people. smart people are open minded, question the existing and live consciously.