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Old 02-15-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...car15_ST_N.htm

Penske is out of the car business. It was probably a good thing the Satiurn acquisition never happened. I suspect Jill will be retiring, unless she can market rental trucks...

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Old 02-15-2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

Actually, Penske Automotive still has about 300 dealerships in the US and UK. He may not be in the distributor side of the business, but he is clearly still on the selling side.

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Old 02-15-2011, 01:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

2 for 2 Jill, amazing!

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

Actually, the acquisition was driven by Daimler in order to combat CAFE standards here in the US. With Penske distributing the smart brand, MB was not able to fold them under their umbrella for EPA purposes. The US was the only area where smart was not being distributed by Daimler directly.

I'm not saddened by the loss of the Renault/Nissan 4 seat car. The first generation forfour was a *******ized Mitsu Colt and wasn't that good of a car.

The only smart stores to be affected were standalone stores, or stores not affiliated with a MB dealership. With the initial sales rush out of the way and the standardized sales goals of 6,500 - 8,000 cars/year in the US in place (which were always the goals, by the way), the standalone stores are not profitable regardless.

I see this as a good thing - MB has deeper pockets for advertising. They are going to run it here just like they do in Canada.

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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Originally Posted by OhioVueBoy View Post
Actually, the acquisition was driven by Daimler in order to combat CAFE standards here in the US. With Penske distributing the smart brand, MB was not able to fold them under their umbrella for EPA purposes. The US was the only area where smart was not being distributed by Daimler directly.

I'm not saddened by the loss of the Renault/Nissan 4 seat car. The first generation forfour was a *******ized Mitsu Colt and wasn't that good of a car.

The only smart stores to be affected were standalone stores, or stores not affiliated with a MB dealership. With the initial sales rush out of the way and the standardized sales goals of 6,500 - 8,000 cars/year in the US in place (which were always the goals, by the way), the standalone stores are not profitable regardless.

I see this as a good thing - MB has deeper pockets for advertising. They are going to run it here just like they do in Canada.
Makes business sense. Now they just need to expand the brand like BMW is doing with Mini. I think it'd be wise for MB to use Smart as a way to bring the A & B class to the USA. Saves on design costs, as they're already in production in other places as MBs. Keeps that precious brand ego afloat too, you don't have any economy cars tarnishing the brand. And it'll help offset every twin turbo V12 they sell by a little bit.

It's just fun to get in jokes about Jill killing brands. She is the Grim Reaper of cars.

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Old 02-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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It's just fun to get in jokes about Jill killing brands. She is the Grim Reaper of cars.
Ouch. Where will she end up next?

Anyway, I thought Daimler and Smart were already joined at the hip. It makes better business sense to sell Smart cars through M-B centers, just as Toyota sells Scions through their existing dealership network.

Although it's too bad Penske didn't try to lean more on PSA as a venture partner, despite current Peugeots not being suited to our market taste. In hindsight, the Samsung SM3 is too similar to the current Sentra styling wise to have worn a Saturn/Penske badge. No wonder R-N stockholders and Nissan NA dealers cried foul. Not that Ghosn needed help making his decision, but I think the aforementioned pair certainly pushed him in the direction of 'no way'.

Thanks in large part to my Nissans (oh the irony!), I've moved on since the announcement that Saturn would be no longer. There's plenty of used Saturns around to catch the brand collector's fancy and help to keep its memory alive.


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Old 02-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

I saw a Smart Car over the weekend that had the MB logo on it. It was a Green color.

My thought was "When did MB start making cars that look like Smart Cars"...the other thought I had was that the person who owned the Smart Car wanted the car to look stylish, so they put a MB logo on it.

I guess this makes sense now..

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Old 02-15-2011, 09:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

Given GM's propensity for going through CEOs (which one is in charge now?) I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up there. I mean, eventually they'll run out of people. I hope for MB's sake she gets removed now that MB is taking Smart back. Despite my criticisms of MB owners and the cars and other things, I actually do like MB. I wouldn't wish Jill's touch of death on them.

Maybe she can run Cadillac into the ground. Or how about Honda? Toyota? Chrysler? Buick?

Actually, Buick is probably the most likely one she will kill next, I mean work for next.

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Old 02-15-2011, 09:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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Originally Posted by OhioVueBoy View Post
Actually, the acquisition was driven by Daimler in order to combat CAFE standards here in the US. With Penske distributing the smart brand, MB was not able to fold them under their umbrella for EPA purposes. The US was the only area where smart was not being distributed by Daimler directly.
Makes perfect business sense, this is why Saturn was able to lose money year after year but still survive off the GM profits from SUVs. If Mercedes would put a decent, smaller TDI motor in their C-Class, it'd help the CAFE standards and not diminish the brand.

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Old 02-15-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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Anyway, I thought Daimler and Smart were already joined at the hip. It makes better business sense to sell Smart cars through M-B centers, just as Toyota sells Scions through their existing dealership network.
They actually are - smart is an MB product. There are a decent number of small bits and hardware bits shared with the A class as well - it lends a nice feel to things like the window switches and minor controls that other small cars lack.

The majority of smart centers are connected to MB dealers. The dealers that have closed thus far in the US have all been detached stores, or tied to other brands. It doesn't have enough margin to be self supporting - be it here in North America or elsewhere in the world. The original intent was to give them the corner of an MB showroom.

The ownership group that owns my dealer owns several MB dealers, a Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maybach and a Sprinter dealership. Mine is a separate building tied to their largest MB dealer - its showroom holds about 4 cars, has 2 or 3 information kiosks and a couple of seating areas with tables. There are 2 or 3 employees and 1 dedicated smart tech. They run with minimal overhead, but they also are supposedly one of the best rated dealers in the US.

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Old 02-15-2011, 10:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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I saw a Smart Car over the weekend that had the MB logo on it. It was a Green color.

My thought was "When did MB start making cars that look like Smart Cars"...the other thought I had was that the person who owned the Smart Car wanted the car to look stylish, so they put a MB logo on it.

I guess this makes sense now..
People like to try to rebadge them as an MB. It would be akin to badging a Saturn as a GM. This tends to be a big point of contention that causes arguments on the forums.

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Old 02-15-2011, 11:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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People like to try to rebadge them as an MB. It would be akin to badging a Saturn as a GM. This tends to be a big point of contention that causes arguments on the forums.
I remember seeing one about 10 years or so ago that was being used as a promotional vehicle and the guy showed me the motor. IIRC, it was a MB 3 banger diesel or something like that. Thought it had MB hubcaps as well.

There is some guy near my office that has a black B-class Mercedes that looks like a grown up Smart car. It has Ontario tags on it, neat looking though. I could see MB really selling a lot of them in this country if they put a TDI motor in it here and went after the same market that people who drive Golf TDIs occupy.

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Old 02-16-2011, 12:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

The diesel in them is actually the smallest production passenger diesel made. A friend of mine in Ontario had one - I drove it/rode in it a few times down here. It was a slug, but made a great little diesel clatter.

They are supposed to be bringing the B here. It's an awesome little car. The BlueTec version would be great as well. I'll be curious to see how the C diesel sells - I have only seen 2 or 3 BMW 335ds on the road around here.

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Old 02-16-2011, 12:16 AM   #14
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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The BlueTec version would be great as well. I'll be curious to see how the C diesel sells - I have only seen 2 or 3 BMW 335ds on the road around here.
Me too, I saw one while getting on the Lewes Ferry going to Cape May and saw one down here. The thing with BMW prices is that people lease them and leasing a diesel makes no fiscal sense. They are going to be making a 5-series diesel as well, that'd be a great vehicle to have.

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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I remember seeing one about 10 years or so ago that was being used as a promotional vehicle and the guy showed me the motor. IIRC, it was a MB 3 banger diesel or something like that. Thought it had MB hubcaps as well.

There is some guy near my office that has a black B-class Mercedes that looks like a grown up Smart car. It has Ontario tags on it, neat looking though. I could see MB really selling a lot of them in this country if they put a TDI motor in it here and went after the same market that people who drive Golf TDIs occupy.
That's probably the one I saw, was it an older white guy? Not gonna lie, I liked it a lot.

I've seen a few 335ds, its tough to tell them from the 335i from a distance. Then again, I see millions of 335is.

MB also has the balls to put a diesel in the GLK. I like that. Hopefully BMW and VW/Audi follow suit (the Q5 was always rumored to be getting the 3.6L diesel but never has )

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

I'm a huge clean diesel fan. Hybrids, not so much.

Had they offered the diesel in the smart when I ordered mine, I probably would have went that route. The powertrain is probably one of my most favorite things (which is ironic, since 90% of the public hates the transmission when they test drive it) - but there is something I like about the sound of a diesel.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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That's probably the one I saw, was it an older white guy? Not gonna lie, I liked it a lot.
This one was black, it looked good though.

The GLK would be great for a small TDI motor as well.

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Old 02-17-2011, 11:34 AM   #18
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

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I saw a Smart Car over the weekend that had the MB logo on it. It was a Green color.

My thought was "When did MB start making cars that look like Smart Cars"...the other thought I had was that the person who owned the Smart Car wanted the car to look stylish, so they put a MB logo on it.

I guess this makes sense now..
Sounds similar to what people have done to Minis; I've seen several with BMW roundels on them. I guess that they figure that since BMW owns Mini, it's a small BMW---they want the status without the price tag.

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Old 02-18-2011, 03:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

Unless the Smart car increases it's sales, it will most likely leave the US market.

It's concept is ahead of it's time. Unfortunately it's fuel economy is not outstanding, and it's safety is a big concern in the US where cars are larger than the European market which it was intended.

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Old 02-18-2011, 05:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: Mercedes takes over Smart cars from Penske

and it takes premium fuel. kind of a killer for an ecconomy car.

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