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Smart offers first lease incentive program

The terms of the new Smart lease program include a 36-month lease for $169 a month, $999 down, a $595 acquisition fee and the first month's payment due at the time of the lease.
DETROIT -- Smart USA, the minicar distributor that named a new president this month after a 41 percent sales plunge in 2009, said it will offer its first national lease incentive program.

The launch of the incentive, with financing from Daimler Financial Services, comes after Smart USA Distributor LLC replaced President David Schembri with former Saturn brand chief Jill Lajdziak on Jan. 4.

Lajdziak, in a statement Friday, said Smart USA has “continued confidence in the brand, based on the volume of vehicles sold since the Smart ForTwo went on sale” in the first quarter of 2008. Smart USA is a unit of Penske Automotive Group Inc.

The terms of the new program include: a 36-month lease for $169 a month, $999 down, a $595 acquisition fee and the first month's payment due at the time of the lease. The program is available through Feb. 28 at 77 dealers in 36 states.

“We are committed to offering a complete menu of financing options to maximize the sales potential of Smart USA,” Franz Reiner, CEO of Daimler Financial Services, said in a release.

U.S. sales of the ForTwo, made by Daimler AG, started out strong in 2008 as U.S. gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon by mid-year. Last year's sales declined along with fuel prices and the industry collapse to 14,595 from 24,622.

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