Wednesday 29 October 2008

Smart ForTwo heads for China & Brazil (CN/BR)

Daimler AG will import two of its smaller vehicles into China in early-2009: the Smart ForTwo and the Mercedes-Benz GLK.

The Smart ForTwo will go on sale in China next April, priced from $23,500 to $29,400. The GLK also is scheduled to arrive next spring, according to Klaus Maier, CEO of Mercedes-Benz (China).

The moves are a response to trends in China's premium segment, where rising fuel prices and the consumption tax are pushing customers toward smaller vehicles, said Maier. China's luxury-car market has grown 30% annually over the past three years.

But a 50% slump in the stock market, as well as the implementation of a higher consumption tax on large-engine vehicles for environmental reasons, threatens to reduce market demand.

Brazil will also get the Smart ForTwo following its successful launch earlier this year in the States. DaimlerChrysler have announced the introduction of the Smart ForTwo into the Brazilian market from next April. Making its public debut at the São Paulo Auto Show, the ForTtwo brings its unique spatial concept, high build quality and low fuel consumption to increasingly 'lifestyle-oriented' Brazilian consumers.

"We are certain that the agile two-seater possesses the ideal prerequisites to inspire customers in Brazil’s urban centres, starting with São Paulo," maintains Anders-Sundt Jensen, Head of Brand Management at smart.

There are some 6 million vehicles on the streets of today's São Paulo Brazil and with near to 30,000 new cars registered each month, the Brazilian market and more specifically the developing market in congested urban centres such as São Paulo is one DaimlerChrysler believes its ForTwo can tap into successfully - helped not least by an increasing environmental awareness amongst consumers.

The Smart ForTwo fulfills these concerns - boasting low fuel consumption and 'exemplary' CO2 emissions - and provides renowned Mercedes-Benz build quality and safety standards, a quirky design and cult status reaching through out its 37 international markets.

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