DaimlerChrysler to nominate Gulf Smart car distributors by year-end
DaimlerChrysler will confirm its Smart car distributors in the Gulf region by the end of this year, preceding the Smart car’s official regional launch.
Gulf News reported that the only models of Smart cars now in the Gulf markets arrived through gray channels or as direct imports. Industry sources note that several large business groups in the UAE have expressed interest in acquiring distribution rights to the Smart car. However, a formal application will only be made if Gargash Enterprises, the Mercedez-Benz dealer for Dubai and the northern Emirates and Emirates Motor Co., the Abu Dhabi agent, renounce their options.
The Middle East and Japan are seen as the leading destinations for Smart car to expand, following recent success in the West European markets. More than 100,000 units of DaimlerChrysler’s two-seater smart City-Coupe were sold in Europe by the end of January 2000. Measuring merely 2.5 meters from end to end, the Smart car is a practical solution for drivers seeking urban mobility. In addition to dealerships, the smart City-Coupe can be configured, ordered, and paid for over the Internet at www.smart.com.
A feasibility study is currently being executed with prospective partners in the Middle East region. All possible partners are existing dealers for the Mercedez-Benz passenger and commercial vehicle line. The report will also consider the potential market size for the niche model, service and post-sales requirements.
All Smart dealerships will be compelled to invest in separate showrooms. These investments are expected to be considerable since DaimlerChrysler has mandated certain requirements to establish a unique identity for Smart showrooms across the world. -(Albawaba-MEBG)