DETROIT & BOBLINGEN, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 28,
2006--Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management
DaimlerChrysler AG (NYSE:DCX) and head of Mercedes Car Group, today
announced that the unique and urban-friendly smart brand will enter
the U.S. market. Beginning in 2008, the successor to the smart fortwo
will be available in U.S. markets in three models. The U.S.A., as the
world's largest automotive market, will be the 37th market for smart.
The Parties have agreed on the framework for the exclusive
distribution of smart vehicles by international automotive retailer
UnitedAuto Group, Inc. (NYSE:UAG). UnitedAuto will be responsible for
awarding potential dealers and developing and maintaining a smart
vehicle dealership network throughout the United States and Puerto
DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman of the Board of Management and head of
Mercedes Car Group Dieter Zetsche said, "Following the success of the
smart fortwo in Europe with more than 750,000 attracted customers and
the increasing demand for affordable and fuel efficient small cars in
the U.S.A., we are now bringing this new kind of mobility to U.S.
cities. The time has never been better for this -- and I am convinced
that the smart fortwo as an innovative, ecological and agile city car
will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York,
Miami or Seattle, as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris."
Like its predecessor, the smart fortwo successor will have all the
important features that make customers feel safer and more
comfortable. As part of the Mercedes Car Group, the smart vehicle will
be equipped with unique technology, including the "hard shell" tridion
safety cell, ESP and various airbag systems.
UnitedAuto expects to qualify potential dealers using an open
process that will focus on their commitment to the brand and strategic
locations in key markets with facilities that meet the needs of the
brand and the customer. Demonstration of outstanding customer
satisfaction metrics will also be a key element to qualify for the
franchise. The initial rollout of retail outlets is expected to start
in mid-2007, with the official launch of the smart brand planned to
occur later that year. The smart vehicle is expected to be sold in the
U.S. starting in early 2008.
UnitedAuto Chairman Roger Penske remarked, "We are thrilled with
the opportunity to represent the smart brand in the United States and
Puerto Rico. Through our international diversification, we've seen the
benefits the smart brand provides in Europe. We believe the U.S.
market will embrace the smart vehicle with its exceptional fuel
economy, environmentally friendly features, and advantageous price
point. We look forward to a successful launch of this vehicle over the
next several years."
For further information about the smart vehicles please refer to
www.media.smart.com or www.smartusa.com or call 1-800-smart-usa.
United Auto Group, Inc., headquartered in Bloomfield Hills,
Michigan, operates 296 retail automotive franchises, representing 40
different brands, and 27 collision repair centers. UnitedAuto, which
sells new and previously owned vehicles, finance and insurance
products and replacement parts, and offers maintenance and repair
services on all brands it represents, has 173 franchises in 19 states
and Puerto Rico and 123 franchises located internationally, primarily
in the United Kingdom. UnitedAuto is a member of the Fortune 500 and
Russell 2000 and has approximately 14,000 employees.
Since October 1998 the smart fortwo has attracted more than
750,000 customers in 36 countries. As a brand of DaimlerChrysler,
smart benefits from the parent corporation's technical expertise and
extensive experience in the automotive business. The successor to the
smart fortwo will be launched in Europe next year and will be
available in the USA for the first time the following year.
smart, as one of the youngest car makes on the market, stands for
innovation, functionality and joie de vivre and especially appeals to
customers who are interested in new, clever and trend-setting
solutions in the automotive sector. smart drivers are characterized by
attitude, not by age, profession, gender or any other "traditional"
criteria clustering groups of people. smart people are open minded,
question the existing and live consciously.
Cautionary Statement UAG
Statements in this press release involve forward-looking
statements, including forward-looking statements pertaining to
successful completion of the proposed distributorship and dealership
network on the terms described above. The actual results may vary
materially from those planned because of risks and uncertainties,
including external factors such as interest rate fluctuations, changes
in consumer spending, economic conditions and other factors over which
management has no control. These forward-looking statements should be
evaluated together with additional information about UnitedAuto's
business, markets, conditions and other uncertainties which could
affect UnitedAuto's future performance, which is contained in
UnitedAuto's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, and its
other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and which
is incorporated into this press release by reference. This press
release speaks only as of its date and UnitedAuto disclaims any duty
to update the information herein.
Cautionary Statement DaimlerChrysler
This document contains forward-looking statements that reflect
management's current views with respect to future events. The words
"anticipate," "assume," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend,"
"may," "plan," "project," and "should" and similar expressions
identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to
risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to: an economic
downturn in Europe or North America; changes in currency exchange
rates, interest rates and in raw material prices; introduction of
competing products; increased sales incentives; the effective
implementation of the New Management Model for DaimlerChrysler and the
CORE program, including the new business model for smart, at the
Mercedes Car Group; renewed pressure to continue cost reduction
efforts in light of restructuring plans announced by General Motors
Corporation and Ford Motor Company; supply interruptions of production
materials, resulting from shortages, labor strikes or supplier
insolvencies; the resolution of pending governmental investigations;
and decline in resale prices of used vehicles. If any of these or
other risks and uncertainties occur (some of which are described under
the heading "Risk Report" in DaimlerChrysler's most recent Annual
Report and under the heading "Risk Factors" in DaimlerChrysler's most
recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission), or if the assumptions underlying any of these
statements prove incorrect, then actual results may be materially
different from those expressed or implied by such statements. We do
not intend or assume any obligation to update any forward-looking
statement, which speaks only as of the date on which it is made.
CONTACT: United Auto Group, Inc.
Bud Denker, 248-648-2580
(Executive Vice President -- Marketing UAG)
Tony Pordon, 248-648-2540 (Senior Vice President UAG)
SOURCE: United Auto Group, Inc.