AM Online

Mercedes commits to UK Smart sales

Mercedes-Benz is planning to sell left-hand drive Smart cars in the UK by the end of the year, possibly with a launch at the Birmingham motor show in October, with right-hand variants going on sale in 2001.

The carmaker's three wholly-owned dealerships will be first to retail Smart cars, with other city-based showrooms taking the model as demand grows.

Dermot Kelly, Mercedes-Benz UK director of passenger cars, attacked unofficial importers of Smart cars for tarnishing Mercedes' UK image, claiming the cars fell below British standards because they were often converted for UK roads without meeting the necessary certificate of competence.

“Importers exploit the fact that they can operate below the required legislation because they bring in such small volumes,” he said. “We are receiving complaints and are concerned because it reflects on Mercedes' image.” Mercedes will focus on providing an aftersales service for the existing drivers, said Mr Kelly, offering checks free of charge and carrying out alterations to make the cars legal for a small charge.

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