Who will sell Smart in the U.S.?

DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche thinks that's the big question as the company readies the Smart ForTwo city car for sale in the U.S.

In a German magazine interview, Zetsche openly said that the company is looking for a U.S. retail partner, stating "The sales network is decisive...It is certain that we want to cooperate with a third party."

Although Mercedes-Benz Canada has been selling all the ForTwo's it can get its hands on since the brand's Canadian launch in late 2004, Zetsche doesn't think that solution will work in the U.S., perhaps concerned that adding Smart would dilute the luxury-market positioning of the Mercedes-Benz brand.

Dodge is the most likely DaimlerChrysler candidate to get Smart, but Zetsche doesn't think it's good fit, possibly thinking that the premium city car wouldn't fit well in the small car part of Dodge's product portfolio. The entry-level price for the ForTwo in Canada is about $15,000 USD.

Despite the distribution channel conundrum, Zetsche remains confident that DaimlerChrysler will find a way to sell the Smart in the U.S.

Us? Given DCX's recent tie-up with Volkswagen, we'd like to see them resurrect the fortunes of VW's killer ZX-3 trike, and pair it with Smart in some sort of alternative sales channel, perhaps partnering with a motorcycle or scooter outfit.

[Source: Reuters]

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