Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Insert your own multiple-choice answers here-- for the question "what is a for-two?"-- or just read this article...

From the C-J, Jere Downs on a new and very different automobile...

With its rock-bottom $2,500 price, India's Tata Nano is the buzz in the auto industry. While it may have consumers thinking about saving on gasoline, the two-cylinder car isn't expected to make it to U.S. showrooms any time soon.

But dealerships in Louisville and elsewhere are gearing up for the only A-car, a special federal classification for itty-bitty vehicles, currently approved for sale in the United States. The Smart fortwo, built by Mercedes-Benz, is due to arrive at the Sam Swope dealership off Blankenbaker Parkway later this month....

A foot shorter than the Tata, the nearly 9-foot-long Smart fortwo can reach 90 mph, compared to the Tata's maximum 64 mph. The fortwo's fuel rating is 40 to 45 miles to the gallon, similar to the Tata's. With less than 85 cubic feet of interior space, the fortwo is classified by the government as an A-segment car, the same category that would be assigned to the Tata Nano if it were available here.

Later this month, Swope expects to hold a test-drive event when the first Smart fortwo vehicles arrive at the dealership on Plantside Drive. Consumers can reserve a Smart fortwo for $99 at www.smartusa.com, but Swope said he hasn't found out how many buyers from Louisville have plunked down cash to secure one....

The basic model, the fortwo Pure, starts at $11,590, without air conditioning, a radio or power steering. The Passion model with power windows and a sunroof starts at $13,590. Creature comforts like heated seats are also available.

To judge by locations of 74 Smartcar dealers around the United States, some markets anticipate avid interest. Florida, with its wealth of golf-cart-riding retirees, for example, has eight dealerships already.

Don't look for the Tata on U.S. roads any time soon. Complying with federal safety and emissions regulations takes years. That is part of the delay, Ford Motor Co. vice president Mark Fields said, in bringing the Verve to market. The Verve, Ford's first B-car -- less than 99 cubic feet of interior space -- made its debut at the auto show with flashy aerodynamic styling and an all-glass roof.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home