ZAP Causes Confusion with $1 Billion Smart Car Order

June 14, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

ZAP (Sebastopol, CA) caused confusion by announcing it had ordered $1 billion worth of Smart mini cars from DaimlerChrysler AG, but DaimlerChrysler's Smart division said it was unaware of any such order. ZAP, which modifies the Smart car to meet US safety and emissions standards, acknowledged it was still awaiting confirmation that the order would be filled.

"ZAP placed the purchase order directly to the DaimlerChrysler Group in an effort to expedite delivery of US-compliant Smart cars to consumers. ZAP is still waiting for confirmation that Smart GmbH will fulfil the purchase order," announced ZAP in a statement. ZAP, which is completely independent from DaimlerChrysler, said it had placed the order after holding talks with Smart officials "to explore the possibility of working together to fill US demand for the Smart car."

Smart has dropped plans to make a sport utility version of its quirky, snub-nosed, urban car, which was supposed to be its entry model for the US market. It has held out prospects of selling the next generation of the Smart in the US market from the second half of 2007.