A Mercedes-Benz UK spokesman said: 'It is likely we will have an official import business in operation in the next two or three months and the most likely major conurbation for it to be based in is London, but the plan is for us to have nothing to do with the running of this business other than being involved in some administration work.'
Some of the German car maker's UK dealers have spent several months assessing the potential of the plastic-bodied model, which has a three-cylinder turbocharged engine and a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. The spokesman said: 'I understand that the survey is still going on. Our view is that a market for the Smart does exist in this country, but the big issue is just how many are likely to be sold each year.'
The development comes after London-based companies began importing Smarts from the factory in France and selling them direct to the public. 'We think we can sell hundreds before official imports get under way,' said Michael Tegerdine, of Brentford-based Smart Car UK.