Fleet News

Smart to stay LHD says new owner

FULL ownership of the Smart city car brand by Mercedes-Benz is unlikely to have any impact on British marketing proposals. 'As far as we are aware, a plan to restrict the car to left-hand-drive will remain unchanged,' a Mercedes-Benz spokesman said after it was announced that the company behind the tiny two-seater model was now wholly-owned by the German car maker.

The brainchild of Nicolas Hayek, chairman of the Swatch group, the project to build the Smart was a joint venture. But Daimler-Benz, at present in the final stages of taking control of Chrysler, the US car firm, has acquired the Micro Compact Car company for an undisclosed sum.

Offered with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, the innovative French-built model was launched in October. A series of engineering problems is said to have put back its on-sale date by six months.

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