Smart has announced the first three Mercedes-Benz dealer groups to take on the franchise for the two-seater city car as part of a programme to expand its UK retail network.
The three are B & K Thomas Limited, Rycroft and Jacksons with showrooms in Nottingham, Stockton-on Tees, Poole and the Channel Islands.
Smart plans to offer servicing at these new centres “within the next few weeks”.
The move coincides with the launch of right-hand drive models and is the next phase in the development of the Smart network in the UK. Since launch in October 2000, more than 4,300 Smart have been sold through a network of five DaimlerChrysler UK wholly-owned sales centres at Piccadilly, Chiswick, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Manchester.
Joachim Eberhardt, DaimlerChrysler UK managing director, said: "As sales increase and the market switches on to Smart, we need a truly national network that understands the Smart brand and can deliver the highest expectations in customer care. Who better to do this than the franchised partners that own and operate dealerships for our other brands, principally Mercedes-Benz."
Walter Scherg, Smart general manager, said: "Our key objective is to bring the joy of Smart ownership to many more customers in the shortest possible timescales and to the highest possible standards, whilst ensuring the brand retains a separate identity. Smart will continue to be established as a brand in its own right, with dedicated sales staff, a separate showroom identity and a unique philosophy."