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DaimlerChrysler CEO Inclined to Launch Smart Car in US

DW staff (ncy)February 27, 2006

Automaker DaimlerChrysler is considering whether to introduce its mini "smart" cars onto the American market.

Smarts may just become a common sight across the AtlanticImage: DW-TV

"It is currently more likely that we will make a decision pro USA than contra," said DaimlerChrylser CEO Dieter Zetsche in an interview with business daily Handelsblatt. The final decision would be made within the next half year, he added.

Analysts and large share holders have repeatedly spoken out in favor of DaimlerChrysler dropping smart from its line-up, but Zetsche apparently isn't ready to give it up. Last year, restructuring at smart cost the Mercedes Car Group 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

Dieter Zetsche, fuer Chrysler zustaendiges Vorstandsmitglied der DaimlerChrysler AG
Dieter ZetscheImage: AP

Zetsche stressed in an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung that DaimlerChrysler was open to offers of cooperation over smart. He said there had already been several inquiries.

"The spectrum ranges from low-brow to potentially interesting," Zetsche said. "We have commissioned Goldman Sachs to examine the suggestions and evaluate them."

Since it was founded in concert with the Swiss watch maker Swatch in 1998, smart has never turned a profit.