Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz USA will take over sales and marketing of the microcar smart USA brand from Penske Automotive Group by the middle of this year, according to news on Reuters.
By the end of the transition period around July 1, the number of U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealers selling smart cars will drop to the mid-50s, down from the current 75 at dealerships owned by the Penske group, a Mercedes-Benz spokesman said.
After the transfer, said Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Geoff Day, “We have plans to expand that but right now we want to get this transition done as soon as possible.”
Plans for a smart five-door hatchback from Nissan Motor Co. have been scuttled, said Mercedes-Benz USA.
The next new smart will be developed by the joint venture of Daimler and Renault/Nissan as a global car.
Penske, the No. 2 U.S. dealership group, has been the exclusive distributor of smart in the United States for three years.