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DETROIT - Americans who want to drive Smart like their European counterparts are finally getting their chance.

The flagship dealership and corporate headquarters for Smart USA opened yesterday afternoon in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a Detroit suburb. It is the one that is closest to Toledo. The dealership is one of 68 in 31 states scheduled to open this month to sell the 8-foot, 8-inch Smart Fortwo micro car.

Smart is a division of Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz brand, and its cars have been sold for nearly a decade in Europe. The French-made vehicles are being sold through U.S. dealers that are part of Penske Automotive Group Inc. Roger Penske, a famous former race-car driver and chairman of Penske Corp., also is chairman of Smart USA.

Smart has been contacting the 30,000 people from all 50 states who put down $99 to reserve the tiny two-seater during the past year. The first car was delivered to a New York buyer Wednesday.

The Smart's base price is more than $12,000, including destination charges. A fully loaded Smart Fortwo Passion convertible costs more than $17,000 with those charges.

The 1,800-pound car gets 33 miles per gallon in the city and 41 miles per gallon on the highway.


Link/picture:
toledoblade.com -- U.S. Smart sales begin
 
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