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Smart Car Sales Zoom

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How long would you guess it took Chinese online retailer JingdongMall to sell 300 Pearl Grey limited edition Smart Cars? A few weeks? How about less than two hours?

Stefan Herbert, head of Smart operations at Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd., reports that all 300 units sold out within 89 minutes. Herbert said that China was the only country where these special edition cars had been sold exclusively through an online retailer and the orders “came from all over China, not just first-tier cities.”

The online sale of the Smart cars further validated the German luxury vehicle provider's marketing strategy in China. In 2010 it set a record by selling 205 Smart cars within four hours through group buying on Taobao, a Chinese online marketplace.

If gas prices continue to climb in the United States, it may be just a matter of time before we see Mercedes-Benz test drive the idea here.