DaimlerChrysler to Scale Back Mini-Car Unit

DaimlerChrysler's missteps, critics said, hobbled what should have been a car that is perfect for its times: fuel-efficient and tiny enough so that two could fit into the parking space of a single full-size American car.

Published: 02-Apr-2005

KFURT, April 1 - How did a pint-size car named Smart manage to make DaimlerChrysler look, well, dumb?

On Friday, the company announced that it would drastically scale back its troubled Smart division, eliminating two models and cutting 700 employees, at a cost of up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.55 billion).

The move came after DaimlerChrysler racked up years of losses, as it struggled with Smart's high production costs and cumbersome distribution network, which had been kept separate from existing Mercedes dealerships.

DaimlerChrysler's missteps, critics said, hobbled what should have been a car that is perfect for its times: fuel-efficient and tiny enough so that two could fit into the parking space of a single full-size American car.

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ECO-SMART QUARTET: (from left) The mild hybrid, CDI hybrid, EV and CNG Smart test vehicles.

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