United Auto Group is changing it's name to Penske Automotive Group (PAG). Penske wants to capitalize on his name, and also to get ready for his exclusive dealership setup for selling the Smart Car in the US. Are we all tired of waiting??
is it just me? If you go to smartusa.com, try to sign up on the email list (click "insider"), and enters nothing on the contact form, you get an error saying "required fields are in red". However, nothing is in Red. Does not work with Firefox nor Safari on the Mac. Yikes! I thought the Smart car is for the design conscious crowd...
We must be getting close. MB now lets you "reserve" a smart car for $99. Go to the www.smartusa.com/ and sign up. According to the site:
Would you like reserve your very own new 2008 smart fortwo? Our exciting $99 Reservation Program is now open to all smart enthusiasts. Be sure to share the news about this exciting program with your family and friends. Please note, this program is specifically designed for smart enthusiasts, so brokers and dealers are excluded from participating in the $99 Reservation Program.
A Eureka, California resident imported a Smart Car into the States. While the Smart Cars are not being sold officially yet, people are importing them and getting shops to help them modify the car to meet US Standards. This new owner, Jeanne Tunison-Campbell worked with Green Auto Shop at Arcata to get the car modified. Read the full story here.
Finally, a review of the Chysler smart fourtwo that is heading to the U.S. shore. It will be different. Longer, with a bigger 1 litre engine. Given all the current concern of gas prices, will the 57.6 mpg spec win buyers over bigger and probably safer car? We will find out in 2008. I say, get a Prius. Read the full review here
Yes, this is real... sort of. It is a Smart Car body built on top of a Unimog 406 chassis. It is just a concept car. But you can point to this thing when people laugh at your little Smart Car. It is 145 inch tall, with 26 inch wheels and 55 inch tall tires.
United Auto Group (UAG) will become Daimler Chrysler's sole U.S. distributor of Smart Cars. UAG is the number 2 U.S. public dealer group in terms of sales, with a collection of about 180 U.S. retail franchises. UAG also have dealerships in Europe. UAG will purchase cars built by DaimlerChrysler in German plants at a fixed margin and then sell the vehicles to various dealers and dealer groups. UAG plans to start with 30 to 50 Smart car dealerships, and eventually expand to more than 100. They will sell Smart cars both in existing Mercedes Benz dealer ships, and construct new stores just for the Smart cars.
On a related note, DaimlerChrysler has selected BBDO to handle the Smart Car brand in the U.S.
Mercedes dealer council chairman says MB dealers in the States do not want to sell Smart Cars in their Mercedes show room. It may hurt their image. Does this mean that MB buyers are not "smart"? Which brings up the old but true joke: What do you say Mercedes in German?..................................... Taxi. Yes, MB are well built cars, the top end models are very exclusive, but they also sell basic models that are good for basic transportation, including used as Taxis in Germany. So what exact image does the MB dealers want to project?
First, a smart car was used in the Pink Panther remake with Steve Martin. Now it is driven by Tom Hanks in the Movie version of the Da Vinci Code, speeding away, at one time backwards (what else) down a Paris street. I wonder how many people know that is a Smart Car.
While Daimler Chrysler is expected to formally bring the Smart car to the US in 2007, ZAP (NYSE Arca:ZP) is doing it now. ZAP, stands for Zero Auto Pollution, in Santa Rosa CA, imported Smart cars for sale in the US in 2005 and continue to do so. ZAP has to modify the cars to meet US standards, and meeting the California emissions standards is even tougher. They are only selling a very small number of them in the US right now. The first car was delivered to a school teacher from Wellington, Florida.