smart Brand Vehicles to Lead Runners in the 108th Boston Marathon

    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

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