DaimlerChrysler AG's unprofitable Smart mini-car unit has seen its sales in Germany in the first eight months of the year rise 47 percent to 32,000.

"In a total car market in Germany that is shrinking, we have been able to increase our market share to 1.4 percent," said Juergen Fahr, a Smart sales executive. Last year, the two-seat car's share was 0.8 percent. Smart sold 40,000 cars last year in Germany and expects to increase that by 20 percent this year.

Started in 1998, Smart lost about $72 million last year, analysts estimate, on sales of 80,000 cars across Europe. It introduced a convertible version this year.

German prices start at about $7,319.