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2009 Smart Fortwo – Click above for high-res image gallery

Just a few weeks ago, former Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak was hired by Penske Automotive to head sales and marketing for its Smart USA operations. Now Lajdziak will take over the entire operation as the new president of Smart USA, replacing Dave Schembri, who held the post since its inception.

Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak spent several months this summer and fall working closely with Roger Penske and his staff trying to iron out the details of a proposed purchase of the brand from General Motors. As we know, that deal fell apart when Renault's board of directors vetoed a deal to supply cars to a Penske-owned Saturn. When GM decided to shutter Saturn, Lajdziak announced that she would retire from General Motors at the end of this month.

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 ve

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