TORRANCE, Calif., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., (NYSE: PAG), and Sanrio, Inc., best known for global pop icon Hello Kitty®, announced a partnership today to offer vehicle wraps featuring Hello Kitty for the smart fortwo. Vehicle owners can now order Hello Kitty vehicle wraps through smart USA's "smart Expressions," a customization program launched in July.
"We are expanding the highly successful smart program by adding licensed brands as part of our wrap offerings," said Kim McGill, smart USA's vice president of marketing. "Both Hello Kitty and smart are expressive with a passionate following, and this is a special opportunity to bring the two fan bases together."
"Our collaboration with smart USA allows fans to truly embrace the Hello Kitty lifestyle," said Janet Hsu, president of Sanrio, Inc. "This is the first time that Sanrio will offer a Hello Kitty car in the United States. The modern, environmentally-friendly features of the smart fortwo combined with supercute Hello Kitty designs deliver an exciting offering that responds to the demands of our fans for special edition lifestyle products."
The smart Expressions program offers Hello Kitty wraps in three different full body designs, each with a selection of color schemes, in addition to a series of partial wrap designs and colors. In total, there are 22 full and partial wrap design and color combinations from which to choose.
The Hello Kitty wrapped cars will appear at many Sanrio 50th Anniversary events this fall. The Hello Kitty customized cars can be seen at various stops on the Small Gift mobile pop up tour, which kicks off in San Francisco on October 23. smart cars will also have a presence at the Small Gift West and East Coast events, taking place November 12–21 in Los Angeles and December 2–5 in Miami. Keep an eye out for the Hello Kitty wrapped smart cars in additional locations nationwide by following the tour at www.sanrio.com/smallgift.
To view a gallery of each Hello Kitty wrap design with select color options, interested customers can visit the smart Expressions design studio at www.smartusa.com/smartexpressions.
Sanrio, best known for global icon Hello Kitty® and home to many more endearing characters including Chococat®, My Melody®, and Keroppi®, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. August 2010 marks the golden anniversary for the worldwide lifestyle brand that was founded on the "small gift, big smile®" philosophy -- that a small gift can bring a big smile to people of all ages. Today, over 50,000 Sanrio-branded items are sold in over 70 countries around the world. In the Western Hemisphere Sanrio character-branded products are sold in upwards of 12,000 locations including department, specialty, national chain stores and over 95 Sanrio boutiques. For more information, please visit www.sanrio.com.
About the smart fortwo and smart USA
smart USA Distributor LLC, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is the exclusive distributor of the smart fortwo in the United States and Puerto Rico and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. The smart fortwo is a brand of and is manufactured by Daimler AG. This technologically advanced vehicle achieves an EPA estimated 41 mpg on the highway* and is an ultra-low emissions vehicle, as certified by the State of California Air Resources Board. The vehicle is 8.8 feet long, 5.1 feet tall and 5.1 feet wide and comes equipped with many functional and safety features found in most luxury models. smart is currently sold in 40 other countries, and more than one million smart fortwos have been sold since 1998. The smart fortwo is available in five trim levels ranging in price from $11,990** to $20,990**.
*U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; www.fueleconomy.gov
**Excludes tax, title, registration, destination charge, options and other dealer fees.
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 173 franchises in 17 states and Puerto Rico and 152 franchises located outside the United States, primarily in the United Kingdom.
Penske Automotive, through its wholly-owned subsidiary smart USA Distributor LLC, is the exclusive distributor of the smart fortwo vehicle and related parts in the United States. smart USA supports over 75 smart retail centers in the United States and Puerto Rico. Penske Automotive is a member of the Fortune 500 and Russell 1000 and has approximately 14,100 employees. smart and fortwo are registered trademarks of Daimler AG.
SOURCE Sanrio, Inc.