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Smart says not for sale

DaimlerChrysler's loss-making Smart small-car brand has reiterated it is not for sale and insisted investment bank Goldman Sachs was acting only as a ‘buffer zone’ to screen potential offers.

"We brought in Goldman Sachs for an analytical role to have a kind of buffer zone between the approaches and the company. Nothing has changed," said a spokesman.

DaimlerChrysler chief executive Dieter Zetsche told reporters at the Detroit Motor show this month that Smart was able to offset weak sales of its four-seat model and "overdeliver on the bottom line" in 2005.

Citing private equity bidders, the Financial Times reported that Goldman had ended exploratory talks on Smart with financial investors last week and narrowed its focus to potential buyers in the automotive sector.

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