$300,000 buy-in to sell Smarts in U.S.

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, says it is among 400 candidates hoping to get Smart franchises.

To build U.S. awareness of the Smart brand, three tractor trailers will tour the country this summer, taking Smart cars to the masses in 37 cities. Potential buyers will then have a chance to test drive the ForTwo and find out just how intimidated even the smallest SUV will make them feel. Those still interested in buying, can look forward to the first of 2008, when the cars should actually hit dealer lots.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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