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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Officials from smart USA Distributor rolled out their first national lease program late last week. They are initiating the program through Daimler Financial Services.

The company indicated the new lease program is available for all new smart models. It plans offer lease increments of 24, 36 and 48 months.

To support the lease launch, smart USA and Daimler Financial Services are joining forces on a special offer for qualified customers. Via this special deal, consumers can get a lease for a new 2009 smart fortwo pure coupe for $169 a month on a 36-month, 10,000 miles-per-year contract.

Officials detailed the other rates, terms and tiers under this offer. They calculated the monthly payment using a base MSRP of $13,335, but the cost does not include tax, license, title, registration, documentation fees, additional options, insurance or other dealer fees.

Company executives also noted that qualified customers must provide a $999 down payment, $595 acquisition fee and the first month's payment at time of delivery. However, no security deposit is required.

As with many leases, consumers are subject to credit approval so not all customers will qualify.

Since its introduction, officials pointed out nearly 40,000 smart fortwos have been sold. There are 77 smart centers located in 36 states.

Officials from both smart USA and Daimler Financial Services anticipate that this new lease offer will continue to help these vehicles penetrate the market.

"Our new lease program allows customers added flexibility with financing options and allows smart customers to enjoy leasing benefits such as low monthly payments, driving a new vehicle every two to three years and ease of vehicle turn-ins," explained Jill Lajdziak, president of smart USA.

"Given our strong residual value performance we are in position to offer the consumer this financing alternative," Lajdziak continued.

"This option allows consumers to have all the benefits of the smart product and excellent cost of ownership," she added.

Meanwhile, Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing at Daimler Financial Services, also discussed the lease launch.

"As the dedicated financial services partner, we are offering a full menu of financial products designed specifically for the needs of smart drivers and the smart dealer network," Hinrichs noted.

"By launching this competitive leasing program, we are able to expand our current retail financing options and provide customers with another avenue to get into this exciting vehicle," Hinrichs concluded.