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Old 04-06-2008, 05:00 PM
Bill Wood's Avatar
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Lightbulb U.S. smart fortwo sales so strong, Penske wants 15,000 more

Filed under: Car Buying, Economy, Plants/Manufacturing, Mercedes Benz, SMART

Click above for a high-res gallery of the smart fortwo.

Roger Penske, the CEO of the company's namesake and the sole importer of the smart brand into the U.S., says that with demand at its current level, dealers could offload 40,000 fortwos to customers this year. The only problem: the U.S. market is only getting 25,000.

Penske is currently talking with Mercedes-Benz, smart's parent company, to see if it can ship more fortwos Stateside in the coming months, but that looks unlikely considering that the smart factory is running at full bore for the year.

Smart expects to sell 3,000 fortwos in the first quarter of this year through the 67 dealers (mainly Mercedes-Benz dealerships that have bought a franchise) currently in the U.S. That number is expected to increase to 74 by the end of the year. Although pre-order cancellation numbers haven't been officially released, some dealers are anticipating that around 25-percent of potential buyers that put down the required $99 deposit might opt out of the diminutive coupe. Thankfully, smart dealers in the U.S. have agreed not to mark up the cars at the risk of losing their franchise, according to the president of smart USA, David Schembri.

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[Source: Autoweek]
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