Mercedes-Benz has decided to take over distribution of Smart from Penske automotive, the companies announced today. Penske launched Smart for Mercedes as an independent distributor back in 2008, but sales fizzled quickly after a fast start. Mercedes Benz USA will absorb all distribution and management rights. Negotiations, including details of the date of the takeover are expected to be finished by summer. The 21 Smart dealerships that do not carry Mercedes products will lose theor franchises, leaving Smart with only 58 dealers in the US. Smart USA President Jill Lajdziak will stay with Penske, and Mercedes-Benz will run Smart as a division of itself.
Mercedes decided to take Smart back for a few reasons. One of the biggest being that it will help increase average fuel- economy standards, and that the US is the only country where Smart operates independently of Mercedes.
In addition, a four-door car being developed by Nissan for Smart USA has been canceled.
– By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Automotive News