Wannabe small-car importer Zap is making waves again.
Last spring the company placed an out-of-the blue order with DaimlerChrysler for $1 billion worth of Smart cars. But it was stiff-armed by the automaker, which said it had doubts about Zap's ability to pay. Zap, deeply offended, smacked DaimlerChrysler with a $500 million lawsuit last fall.
Although Smart says it wants nothing to do with Zap, the California company says it's doing an end run around the auto giant by procuring Smart cars from third-party brokers it wouldn't identify. Zap said last week that it has delivered 85 Smart cars to U.S. dealers, and CEO Steve Schneider said the company has 250 it's preparing to deliver this month.
Zap spokesman Alex Campbell says the company has "about a dozen" dealers, but he said he didn't know the exact number.
At least one of them - Sue McFarland of McFarland Ford in Exeter, N.H. - is a new-vehicle dealer. She said she sold the one Smart that Zap provided last summer and is willing to take five more.