The head of Smart cars has denied speculation that parent company
DaimlerChrysler may sell or even close the loss-making subsidiary.
In a leaked letter to Smart employees, Ulrich Walker said that while
the firm was still not making money, "the existence of Smart is not at
His comments came after a Daimler senior director said "all
alternatives" for Smart were being looked at.
The distinctive city car firm has not made a profit since it started
"Giving up the Smart brand or selling our business is not being
discussed," said Mr Walker.
"[Chief Executive] Juergen Schrempp and [Mercedes Car Group head]
Eckhard Cordes confirmed this to me personally in conversations
A DaimlerChrysler spokesman said the closure or sale of Smart is not
under consideration but the group is discussing plans to make the
The persistent losses at Smart were a major contributing factor to the
quarterly fall in profits at Mercedes, DaimlerChrysler's key German
car-making division, of which Smart is a further subsidiary.
Third-quarter operating profits at Mercedes were down 62% year-on-year
at 304m euros (£211m; $386m), it was announced on Thursday.
DaimylerChrysler chief financial officer Manfred Gentz said Smart had
shown a "strong deterioration".