Penske Automotive Group expects to sell up to 25,000 two-seat Smart cars in the United States next year, as the dealership chain remains on track to launch the car in the first quarter of 2008, Reuters
reports.Penske Automotive Chairman and Chief Executive Roger Penske recently said the retailer had 35,400 reservations for the Smart car, produced by the Mercedes division of German automaker Daimler AG.Penske currently expects to sell between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles in 2008. There is capacity to make 130,000 to 140,000 cars annually, but Penske reports it is only making cars after taking orders for them.The basic Smart car will start at $11,590, while the convertible's base price would be $16,590, Penske said. The first cars will be in U.S. showrooms in December.According to Reuters
, the company said target customers for the Smart car include: first-time car buyers, urban sophisticates, baby boomers looking for a second car, and "empty-nest" parents.