Daimler to launch Smart brand in US

Daimler to launch Smart brand in US
Too small for America? The original Smart model. Photo: DPA
German automaker Daimler and US partner Penske Automotive Group said Wednesday they would launch a five-door Smart model based on a Nissan platform in the United States by 2012.

“Smart USA intends to launch a five-door car on the US market within the next 15 months,” a joint statement said.

Daimler has had trouble distributing its present line of Smart city cars in North America. The new car will be sold only in the United States “and is based on vehicle architecture from Nissan,” it added.

Penske boss Roger Penske was quoted as saying that “we are faced with continuing customer demand for a smart car with more seating capacity.” By working with Nissan, the company will be able to quickly make a small car available in the US.

Financial details would be made available at a later date, the statement said.

Smart cars have been a weak point for Daimler while it has benefited from a recovery in demand for its larger luxury models.

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