Here are the changes we have heard will happen to Smart in the U.S. now that Penkse is out of the picture: the ForTwo Electric Drive is unaffected, plans for a larger vehicle with Nissan (Project Quattro) have been scrapped and, according to a new report in Automotive News (sub. req.), a lot more sales pizzaz is coming soon. Specifically, AN says that Mercedes-Benz, Smart's new owners in the U.S., will use "aggressive marketing, more special-edition vehicles and greater opportunity for buyers to customize their cars."
The goal with all of this is to "increase our sales slightly in the U.S. compared to last year," Smart Vice President Annette Winkler told AN. Well, when your starting point is just 5,927 units sold in 2010 (compared to 14,595 in 2009 and 24,622 in 2008), even a slight increase is something to be pleased with.
The shift to Mercedes control will reduce the number of Smart dealerships in the U.S. to 58 and those that remain will focus on continuing to establish Smart "as a green, premium lifestyle brand," Smart Vice President Annette Winkler, told AN. Another change will be the expansion of the Car2go carsharing program to more North American cities. We wonder how all of this, then, remains in play.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]