MONTVALE, N.J., Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) and Penske Automotive Group (NYSE: PAG) today announced they have started negotiations to transition the distribution rights, management, sales and marketing activities of smart USA from Penske Automotive Group to Mercedes-Benz USA. The transition is expected to occur by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
The proposed change marks a further step in implementing the future growth strategy of the smart brand. It also reflects last year's reorganization at smart headquarters in Germany, where smart is now managed as an independent brand, but is fully integrated into Mercedes-Benz Cars business unit of Daimler AG.
"We are very excited about working toward integration of smart into the MBUSA organization, and look forward to working with our dealer partners to exceed customer expectations for this unique vehicle," said Mercedes-Benz President and CEO, Ernst Lieb. "The addition of smart, combined with our Autohaus dealer initiative, will help us build upon the tremendous momentum the Mercedes-Benz brand has achieved here in the U.S."
"Introducing the smart brand to the U.S. has been a unique opportunity for us," said Penske Automotive Group Chairman Roger Penske. "Over the last three years I've experienced the passion consumers express for the brand as we delivered over 45,000 vehicles. Aligning smart distribution with Daimler, as it is worldwide, is the logical next step for the smart brand in the U.S. This alignment will enable the smart brand to grow through the Mercedes-Benz dealership network and lead the way in conservation and meeting future fuel economy standards."
The addition of the fuel efficient smart fortwo and smart fortwo electric vehicles to Mercedes-Benz USA's product portfolio underscores the company's commitment to meet even more stringent fuel economy standards in the future. The smart fortwo achieves EPA estimated 41 mpg in highway driving. Manufactured by Daimler AG, smart is currently sold in more than 40 countries, and more than 1.2 million smart fortwo have been sold worldwide since 1998. Since then, smart has established itself as the think tank for urban and electric mobility for Daimler AG and plays an important role in the Corporation's plans to make innovative future mobility concepts such as car2go available in Europe and the United States.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.
MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.mbsprinterusa.com.
About Penske Automotive Group
Penske Automotive Group, Inc., headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, operates 325 retail automotive franchises, representing 40 different brands and 25 collision repair centers. Penske Automotive, which sells new and previously owned vehicles, finance and insurance products and replacement parts, and offers maintenance and repair services on all brands it represents, has 172 franchises in 17 states and Puerto Rico and 13 franchises located outside the United States, primarily in the United Kingdom. Penske Automotive is a member of the Fortune 500 and Russell 1000 and has approximately 14,800 employees.
This document contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current views about future events. The words "anticipate," "assume," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "project," "should" and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties, including a slowdown in the recovery of the global economy or a renewed deterioration of global economic conditions, in particular a renewed decline of consumer demand and investment activity in Western Europe or the United States, or a downturn in major Asian economies; a renewed worsening of the situation in the credit and financial markets, which could result in an increase in borrowing costs or limit our funding flexibility; changes in currency exchange rates or interest rates; the ability to continue to offer fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly products; a permanent shift in consumer preference towards smaller, lower margin vehicles; the introduction of competing, fuel-efficient products and the possible lack of acceptance of our products or services, which may limit our ability to adequately utilize our production capacities or raise prices; price increases in fuel, raw materials and precious metals; disruption of production due to shortages of materials, labor strikes, or supplier insolvencies; a renewed decline in resale prices of used vehicles; the effective implementation of cost-reduction and efficiency-optimization programs at all of our segments, including the repositioning of our truck activities in the NAFTA region and in Asia; the business outlook of companies in which we hold an equity interest, most notably EADS; the successful implementation of the strategic cooperation with Renault-Nissan, changes in laws, regulations and government policies, particularly those relating to vehicle emissions, fuel economy and safety; the resolution of pending governmental investigations and the outcome of pending or threatened future legal proceedings; and other risks and uncertainties, some of which we describe under the heading "Risk Report" in Daimler's most recent Annual Report and under the headings "Risk Factors" and "Legal Proceedings" in Daimler's most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If any of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or if the assumptions underlying any of our forward-looking statements prove incorrect, then our actual results may be materially different from those we express or imply by such statements. We do not intend or assume any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made.
SOURCE Mercedes-Benz USA