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Smart Fortwo Cars: Smart Move Or Not?

2007 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet
2007 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet

Can 30,000 people be wrong? That's how many people have placed an order for the new Smart Fortwo b cars that hit the U.S. next year. Those early signees will no doubt be glad to see Daimler A.G. Chairman Dieter Zetsche, in Washington Tuesday promoting the impending arrival of the 'b' car early next year.

FYI: The Smart Fortwo b car is nine feet long, which makes it the smallest car sold in the United States. It's powered by a small 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, and the transmission is five-speed automated manual, with rear-wheel drive. Mostly for city driving, the car can get up to 90 mph.

I bring this all up because I've heard constant questions in recent months about whether the Smart car will be a hit. I think it will do well. Heck 30,000 people already paid $99 to order one before the ever arrive. At least one person in every state has ordered one.

But expect Smart to be a winner on the two coasts, where city drivers will want the fuel efficient sub compact. Middle America will look at these cars and say, "interesting, but too small." But give credit to Daimler. Smart Fortwo is a bet America is ready for fuel efficient small cars.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com


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