The sales figures for DaimlerChrysler's Micro Compact Car (MCC) smart city-coupé and cabrio rose by 6.3% in the first half of the year over the same period of last year, to 62,450 units. The DC City Car unit is trumpeting the increase as evidence of success in the context of a declining European market.

The largest markets for the smarts continue to be Germany, where just under 21,000 cars were sold, and Italy, with sales of more than 17,700 cars.

According to Philipp Schiemer, Marketing & Sales Director at MCC smart: "The highest growth rates were achieved in Great Britain and Japan, to which 4,415 vehicles (previous year: 2,911) and 3,279 vehicles (previous year: 2,431) were delivered respectively. As a new market added last year, Portugal, for example, is also showing a very pleasing development, especially in view of the fact that the vehicle signalled the launch of the smart brand on this market".

Philipp Schiemer also paid tribute to the work of the marketing partners at local level and added: "Customers are also increasingly viewing the smart city-coupé and cabrio as an attractive alternative in ecological and economical terms."

The smart 'k' accounts for a major proportion of the sales in Japan, and 2,128 smart k cars were delivered in the first half of the year. MCC smart is the only foreign manufacturer to import such a vehicle into Japan.

The smart k complies with the requirements for so-called lightweight vehicles in Japan (Japanese: kei-jidousha), making it substantially less expensive than a conventional vehicle with regard to insurance and tax. Furthermore, in some cases the smart k is exempted from the usual requirement in Japanese towns and cities to provide proof of a parking space.

MCC smart also says that it has responded to its customers' wishes at the beginning of the year with a variety of measures, including the introduction of new colours, a new body design and a larger tank for cars with petrol engines. MCC smart has also launched the smart crossblade model as well as the 1st edition as the first product of the smart-Brabus joint venture.