12,600 people place $99 order for Smart fortwo in U.S.

United Auto Group Inc., the auto retailer charged with distributing the Smart fortwo when it arrives on U.S. shores in 2008, is reporting that 12,600 people have plunked down $99 to become a Smart "Insider" and reserve a spot in line to buy DaimlerChrysler's microcar. That number of people represents about three-fourths of the 16,000 fortwos that will be sold in the car's first year on sale in the U.S., and there's enough time before then that the entire allotment could be, in a sense, "sold out" before it actually goes on sale. Of course, not everyone who spends $99 to reserve a fortwo will buy one, but they'll lose their c-note if they don't.

We expect the rate of reservations to increase sharply over the course of this summer with the cost of gasoline continuing to rise. High fuel prices have a way of making people reconsider cars that promise above average economy, and the fortwo should be able to achieve 40 mpg without breaking a sweat. The $99 reservation campaign is also helping the automaker determine how many of each fortwo will be needed next year. Customers can choose from the base Pure model, upgraded Passion model and Passion Cabriolet. If you want to reserve a fortwo and haven't yet, visit the Smart USA website to get in line.

[Source: CNN Money via Kicking Tires]

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