Fleet News

Backing for Smart team

DAIMLERCHRYSLER has given full backing to the management board of its Smart car division after the sudden departure of chief executive Lars Brorsen. 'Lars did a lot of work for Smart and his team has done an excellent job under difficult conditions,' said passenger car board member Jurgen Hubbert at the subsidiary's stand at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The departure of Brorsen came in the wake of a move to merge Smart into Mercedes-Benz operations, but Hubbert painted an optimistic future for the city car brand when he unveiled two new models. 'We have sold 70,000 units throughout Europe so far. That's less than we envisaged in the original plan, but we are now seeing a dramatic increase in interest. Not many brands have experienced such a difficult start, but things are looking a lot better,' said Hubbert when the Roadster was unveiled.

'We have put all our technical resources behind the new Smart CDI, which returns 90mpg and features the world's smallest common rail diesel engine to be an ecological solution for mobility in urban areas. It will go on sale in December. Our city convertible, the smallest car of its type, will go on sale from March. But our concept study is the best possible illustration of the way we intend to expand the Smart brand.'

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