The loss-making city car from Mercedes-Benz may finally be headed to America.By Alex Taylor III, FORTUNE senior editor June 8, 2006: 3:02 PM EDT
NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - You can see tiny Smart cars, those egg-shaped two-seaters, doubled up in parking spaces or sitting on city sidewalks all over Europe, where they have been sold since 1998. But Smart has never come to the United States.
The Mercedes-Benz unit has struggled to make money from the day it was conceived, and writeoffs to date run to the billions of dollars. With losses so steep, plans to sell the car here have been repeatedly delayed as Mercedes has struggled to find a profit-making formula.
Now, DaimlerChrysler chairman Dieter Zetsche is dropping hints that Smart will make its way to the United States. Speaking to reporters in Portland, Oregon last week at an event marking the 25th anniversary of Daimler's acquisition of Freightliner trucks, Zetsche said a final decision on Smart for the U.S. would be made this month, once a verdict was reached on how to distribute it.
Read full article here.
Note: The question of Mercedes launching the smart fortwo in the US has been hanging over Zetsche's head since he took over the helm in January 2006.
Previous SCOOT posts on the topic:
Zetsche Takes Mercedes Helm - optimistic about smart Friday, September 09, 2005
DaimlerChrysler near Smart car decision Thursday, December 01, 2005
DaimlerChrysler Stalls Smart Launch in U.S. Friday, December 23, 2005
Daimler may launch Smart minicar in U.S. Friday, March 03, 2006