BOSTON, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Smiles In Boston-- smart, the global automotive brand that is revolutionizing the design, production and marketing of premium small vehicles around the world is the official car sponsor of the 108th Boston Marathon running on Monday, April 19, 2004. This marks the first appearance ever of the smart cars in New England, where they will also be seen at a number of events and locations throughout the city of Boston April 14-19. A member of the Mercedes Car Group, smart is an entry level premium car manufacturer that debuted in 1998 and offers six models in 31 global markets. The brand will enter the U.S. market in 2006 with a smart utility vehicle called the formore. "We're excited to play an important role in the world's best-known marathon, while at the same time introducing the smart brand to the people of Boston, the international journalists and spectators at this event," said Dave Schembri, vice president, smart USA. "While marathons are serious events, they are also all about fun, and smart vehicles appeal to people who take their fun seriously. And, given this city's heritage, we also think Bostonians will appreciate that smart is a revolution within the world of cars." The Boston Marathon is one of the world's oldest annual marathons and ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events. Some 500,000 spectators line the 26.2-mile course annually, making the Boston Marathon New England's most widely viewed sporting event. The public will see the smart fortwo at various points around the Boston Marathon course. During the race, several "Follow Me" smart vehicles, which have become a central feature of running events sponsored by smart, will also be positioned at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA. "Follow Me" smart vehicles will drive ahead of the field of competitors. In addition, smart timing cars will drive around the course with timing devices and will display interim times to the runners from the edge of the marathon course. A Marathon of smart Fun Sponsorship and participation in the Boston Marathon will mark the culmination of a variety of activities for smart in Boston April 14-19. Bostonians will see smart vehicles at a variety of locations and events around the city, including a two-vehicle display at City Hall Plaza, Copley Square and Faneuil Hall and an appearance at the Rack on Friday, April 16th, for FOX's "Joe Millionaire" casting call. Prior to the Boston Marathon, smart cars will help welcome back winter-weary baseball fans with smart vehicles displayed around Fenway Park on Lansdowne Street for two Red Sox games on April 14 when the Sox take on the Baltimore Orioles and of course during the much anticipated April 17th game against the New York Yankees. Fans heading to the Fleet Center to see the Celtics take on the Miami Heat April 14 can see the smart cars displayed on Causeway Street. The smart cars will be displayed at the start and finish of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.) Freedom Run on Sunday, April 18. Later that day, smart cars will be part of the traditional pre-Marathon pasta party at City Hall Plaza. A Revolution in Small Vehicles Introduced to the world in 1998, the smart line of vehicles is poised to lead the automotive world in new concepts and benchmarks for premium entry-level vehicles. With their unique engineering and design elements and exuberant character, smart vehicles are changing perceptions of what small vehicles can offer in terms of safety, performance and utility. Perfect-Fit Marketing Strategy The smart brand was introduced to the American public as the car sponsor of the 2003 New York City Marathon. Since 2000, smart has sponsored international running events all over the world including Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Hong Kong, Taipei, Sydney, Capetown, Rotterdam and Madrid. In 2004, smart is sponsoring 70 running events in 12 countries worldwide, making it the only car group to support running events to this degree. Involvement in city marathons complements the smart brand, its products and the company's target market. Running is an international sport, and marathons are held all over the world in every large city - exactly where the smart brand is at home with its smart fortwo, a car developed especially for urban use. "smart drivers have a lot in common with marathon runners," said Schembri. "They are more active than average and have a variety of interests. They have a zest for life, a great deal of enthusiasm and do not define themselves by age or social background, but by intellectual and creative potential. The smart brand will offer products that appeal to this audience in the United States -- products that are innovative, intelligent, fun and youthful." smart USA smart (www.smart.com) is a premium small car manufacturer that is part of the Mercedes Car Group business unit of DaimlerChrysler. Celebrating its sixth anniversary, smart is currently available in 31 markets, with global sales of 124,700 units in 2003. smart USA (a separate division within Mercedes-Benz USA) is based in Montvale, N.J. and is responsible for the U.S. sales and marketing of the brand. smart will launch the formore, a new model designed specifically for this market, in 2006.
SOURCE smart USA