Smart Cars Coming to America

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DaimlerChrysler announced plans to start selling its two-seater Smart minicar in the United States in early 2008. The company hopes to take advantage of high gasoline prices to drive sales of the frugal little cars that have been on sale in Europe for years.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And you can also see the shape of another kind of car coming to a dealership near you called the Smart car. Yesterday, DaimlerChrysler announced plans to start selling the egg-shaped vehicle in New York, Boston, L.A., Seattle, parts of Florida, and Puerto Rico. It has two seats and is just nine feet long from bumper to bumper.

SUSAN STAMBERG, host:

It may be small, but the price - nuh-uh. The vehicles are expected to sell for around $15,000. Apart from the fact that they are cute, the Smart car's fuel efficiency may be its main selling point, averaging 40 miles a gallon, but it can go up to 69 on the highway.

DaimlerChrysler hopes the U.S. market will boost sales enough to let them record their first profit on the Smart car since it was introduced in Europe in 1998.

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