The Smart website – www.thesmart.co.uk – acts as a virtual sales centre, offering test drives, specification choices, finance and insurance. It is managed by V-Tech, a DaimlerChrysler company set up to handle all its e-commerce activities. AutoLocate founder Steve White is managing director of the business, which has offices in Milton Keynes and Bristol.
Walter Scherg, UK general manager of Smart, said at the Birmingham motor show 30 'Edition Silver' models would be sold exclusively online, though all Smart cars will be available.
“Our research has showed there is a considerable demand for buying online – Smart was made for the internet. Sixty people in the past week have said that they want to buy on the website,” he said. “We are prepared to do as much as we can on the website. If it works well, DaimlerChrysler may look to offer other models over the internet.”
DaimlerChrysler plans to launch a wholly-owned network of Smart sales and service centres across the UK. It currently has outlets at Piccadilly and Chiswick in London, Birmingham and Milton Keynes. A Manchester site will open by the end of the year.
The city coupe will be available through a home delivery service, via an external contractor, for a small fee of around £250. Sales targets to year-end are around 6-700 units, with around 100 sold online.
Next year, DaimlerChrysler UK expects to sell 4,500 Smart cars.