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Photos: Will America drive small and Smart?

DaimlerChrysler plans to sell the successor to its itsy-bitsy Smart ForTwo car in the United States in 2008.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor on
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Smart cars

About the only way to see a Smart ForTwo car in the United States--for now--is to go to the movies to watch "The Da Vinci Code" or "The Pink Panther." But in 2008 DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes Car Group hope to change that with plans to sell three models of the successor to its Smart ForTwo (seen here in red) to American customers.

Currently Smart ForTwo cars are sold in 36 countries including Canada. UnitedAuto will be in charge of assembling a Smart dealership network throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Smart ForTwo cars currently sell in Europe for around 8,000 euros, or $10,300.

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traffic

The most obvious advantage of the Smart car is its manueverability on city streets. As you can see, two eight-foot Smart ForTwo cars take up almost the same space as one taxi. Gas mileage is estimated 46.3 miles per gallon in cities and 70.6 on the highway, according to DaimlerChrysler. And imagine the parking possibilities.

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Passion coupe

One of the current models is the Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe. DaimlerChrysler describes Smart car owners this way: "Smart people are open minded, question the existing and live consciously."

The three new models to be sold in the United States are expected to be announced near the end of 2007.

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door change

Tired of your Smart car's looks? Just change the body parts.

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body change

With a new hood, it looks like a new Smart car.

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body

The automaker touts the tough frame of the ForTwo as a critical safety feature. Given that it's not much bigger than the hubcap of a large SUV, it would have to be.

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"Pink Panther" game

In the publicity run-up for the movie "The Pink Panther," teams of Inspector Clouseau wannabes qualified online for a chance to win a Smart ForTwo. The game featured an online search for missing diamonds where clues were linked to the final event in Paris.

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interior

Here's a look at the simple interior of a Smart ForTwo.

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