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Despite the fact that Hummers are really no worse on gas than many other full-size, off-road oriented SUV, there is no arguing that the brand has come to represent all that is wrong in the state of the auto scene. As gas prices began rising, Hummer sales began sinking. In contrast, sales of hybrids, MINIs and smarts have gone through the roof. For its part, Penske, the American importer of the smart brand, has raised its sales outlook for the year. It's telling that one of the nation's largest H


If you're looking forward to buying a smart car this year, chances are you live near a future dealership if you reside in the deep South or on the Plains. Penske Automotive Group, the official distributor of the smart, says 68 dealers in 31 states will be ready for sales at least by February, and most sometime this month. Smart describes its dealerships as having a "distinctive black facade," a showroom in smart black, yellow and white and a smart boutique selling smart-branded merch. It all sou


Smart USA has begun recruiting North American dealers to sell the diminutive two-seater and is starting with current DaimlerChrysler dealers. While those already selling DC products would not be required to build a stand-alone Smart showroom, they would have to dedicate 2,000 sq feet to the product and provide a separate entrance. Automotive News reports dealers would be expected to invest about $300,000 apiece for the priviledge of selling Smarts. AutoNation, which runs 13 Mercedes dealerships,

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