Looks like the decision by Penske Automotive to be the Official U.S. Distributor for the smart brand of cars was... uh, smart. According to reports, smart new car sales are one particular bright spot for the company, which saw sales from other outlets drop somewhat. Used cars also did rather well for the company's range of dealerships across America. Penske Automotive Group Chairman Roger Penske says, "With the rise in gas prices, we saw a rapid shift in consumer demand to more fuel efficient vehicles." For the second quarter which just ended in June, 7,731 smart fortwos were delivered, raising the year-to-date wholesale delivery total to 12,646 vehicles.

Sales for the little car are expected to remain strong. Amazingly, some 20,000 advance orders were placed in the months of May and June alone, prompting Penske Automotive to raise the sales outlook from around 20K to between 24,000 and 27,500 units in 2008, smart's first year on the U.S. market.

[Source: AFP via Google News]

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