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article imageSmart Cars On The Way To The States

By KJ Mullins     Jul 11, 2007 in Business
Smart Cars are popular in Europe and are becoming popular on the streets of Toronto, but how will they fare on American streets? The fuel efficiency cars will be on the market in the States next year.
The cute Smart fortwo gets 40 miles per gallon and makes parking on congested streets easier due to its tiny design. The Smart Car at 8.8 feet long and slightly wider and taller than 5 feet is one of the smallest vehicles on the street. When the cars hit America in 2008 the asking price will be $12,000 for the fortwo version.
Some in the States may have trouble seeing safety when it's compared to SUVs that tower over the smaller autos. The smart car has a nice safety package; stiff "safety cell" frame, antilock brakes, side and knee air bags, and intelligent seatbelts that sense motion changes. The question though is in a crash with a SUV would it survive?
Still, in an accident, "the laws of physics can't be repealed," said Russ Rader of the Arlington, Va.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Even with modern safety features like multiple air bags, people in small, light cars are always at a disadvantage in crashes."
European cars do not have the crash testing that the States have so the SmartCars are a bit of a mystery.
As for now, the Smart USA Distributor LLC has launched a 50 road show to get Americans excited about the tiny autos. There are hopes to have 40 and 60 dealerships open by Jan. 1. Dave Schembri president of Smart USA was in Detroit yesterday touting his love of the small cars. The target audience is not a certain age or income level, but rather one of attitude and lifestyle.
"In America, we love our cars ... but we love cars that are fun to drive," he said.
In Canada you can purchase a SmartCar already!
More about Smart car, Coming america, Safety concerns
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