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Smart to break even in 2007

2006-03-22 11:06

Smart has not made a profit since the brand made its debut in October 1998 with the quirky two-seat model that remains its best seller. But it has slashed staff, costs and its planned model line-up in a drive to end the losses by next year.

Daimler has said Smart's operating loss narrowed in 2005 from a deficit of around $730.8m in 2004, without being more specific.

Under mounting pressure from key shareholders to put Smart on the block, DaimlerChrysler mandated investment bank Goldman Sachs to screen potential offers for the brand.

Daily Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday that DaimlerChrysler had cancelled that mandate, quoting industry sources as saying a quick sale of Smart was now no longer an issue.

Daimler declined to comment on the report.

CFO Uebber said planned cost cuts at Smart were on track and the development of the unit was being monitored constantly.

"We're examining it every month, every quarter," he said.

Uebber added the company was in no rush to decide on whether to start selling Smart cars in the key US market.

"There is no reason at the moment to bring forward the decision," he said.


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