High fuel prices have started to change the way Americans look at transportation, and several automakers are rushing to market smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles onto US roads. Daimler Benz is in the final stages of launching the Smart fortwo city car here in the US, and Volkswagen is looking at entering the fray with their own mini compact, the Up!. The stylish Up! was unveiled in Frankfurt on Monday, and Adrian Hallmark, head of Volkswagen of America, has already informed Wolfsburg that the US market is interested.

It's hard to gauge how the fortwo will do here in the States due to its freakishly small size and seating for only two, but the VW Up! concept has a rear-engine, rear drive configuration with room for four. A sedan with roughly the same amount of interior space as a previous generation Golf will likely be available for US consumers if the vehicle goes to production in the next few years. We just hope VW can achieve incredible fuel economy with the good looks of the concept, while offering the Up! at the low prices that once made the original Beetle such a smash hit.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]