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Mercedes-Benz Pulls Smart Franchise from Penske

Move likely to scuttle plan for a Nissan-made Smart four-seater.

by on Feb.15, 2011

Roger Penske's auto group will lose the Smart USA franchise by mid-2011 to Mercedes-Benz.

Days after officials from the Penske Automotive Group expressed their commitment to stand by the struggling Smart brand, they’ve been given their walking paper by Daimler AG, which produces the minicars.

Operation of the franchise, which has seen its sales in the U.S. collapse since a briefly successful 2008 launch, will be taken over by Mercedes-Benz USA by the middle of the year.  MBUSA said it has already begun negotiations to end Penske Automotive Group’s management, sales and marketing activities of the Smart car in the United States.

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The announcement also appears to spell the end of Penske’s efforts to rebuild the Smart brand in the U.S. by turning to Nissan, which was expected to begin providing a new four-seat model that was to be introduced wearing a Smart badge, later this year.


Spring Selling Season Turns Out To Be A Non-Event

Off-Shore owned brands at 54% gain market share yet again.

by on May.04, 2009


The anticipated spring vehicle sales boost fails to materialize.

If wishes were auto sales, than dealers would be riding high, but once again predictions of a resurgence of sales as the spring selling season began in April were made a mockery of as the final data became available.

Overall April sales, including domestic and offshore-owned brands, unadjusted for business days, were down 34.4% from April 2008, according to numbers from Autodata Corporation. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) now stands at 9.5 million, where it has been stuck all year. 

Offshore-owned brands sold 442,124 vehicles in April, down from 656,034 in April 2008. Asian brands accounted for 45.5% of the market, up from 44.7%i n April 2008, and Europeans had an 8.5% share, up from 7.5%. Domestic brands finished the month with 46% of the market. 

“We haven’t seen the numbers we hoped for this spring,” said American International Automobile Dealers Association Chairman, Russ Darrow. “It is becoming increasingly clear that point-of-sale stimulation is necessary to jumpstart a recovery. Specifically, we need Congress to pass a scrappage/fleet modernization bill. Any bill must be immediate, simple, and inclusive of all brands retailed in the United States.”   (more…)