STUTTGART, Germany -- DaimlerChrysler does not plan to abandon or sell its Smart brand of compact cars, the new head of Smart, Ulrich Walker, said in a letter to staff seen by Reuters on Friday.
The German-American carmaker's finance chief, Manfred Gentz, had told a conference call on Thursday that the group was examining its options for Smart given what he called its "disappointing" financial performance.
"It is true that Smart is still not earning money, but the existence of Smart is not at stake," Walker, who was named head of the Smart division in late July, wrote to his staff.
"Giving up the Smart brand or selling our business is not being discussed. (Chief Executive) Juergen Schrempp and (Mercedes Car Group head) Eckhard Cordes confirmed this to me personally in conversations yesterday," he added.
Smart has not made money since it was launched in 1998 and its deteriorating performance helped drag down third-quarter operating earnings at Mercedes Car Group.