Daimler to sell Smarts via Twitter-like service in China
Daimler sold 15,680 Smart ForTwos in China last year.
SHANGHAI (Bloomberg) -- Daimler will sell a limited edition of its Smart ForTwo through China's largest microblog service as it reaches out to the country's 564 million Internet users.
Daimler will offer 666 units of the two-door Smart minicar starting tomorrow on Sina Corp.'s Twitter-like Weibo service.
Buyers have to register online and put down a 1,999-yuan (240-euro) deposit for the 128,888-yuan model, according to the Sina.com Web site.
Tying up with social networking services gives automakers such as Daimler an alternative avenue to reach consumers even as they open more sales outlets in the world's largest vehicle market.
The Stuttgart automaker sold 15,680 Smart ForTwos in China last year, a 45 percent increase from 2011, according to the company.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said on Jan. 14 that the company must turn around its struggling Chinese operations to catch up with BMW Group and Volkswagen AG's Audi.
Mercedes fell further behind BMW and Audi in sales last year as it grew more slowly in China than its two main rivals.
Daimler didn't immediately reply to an e-mail request for comment on the Smart promotion. China added 51 million Internet users last year, giving it more Web users than the population of any other country in the world excluding India. Started in 2009, Sina Weibo has more than 368 million registered users, according to its Web site.
--Alexandra Ho. Editors: Chua Kong Ho, Garry Smith
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