DaimlerChrysler is trying to gauge interest in the Fortwo in the States, and buyers are being asked to back up their words with a fistful of dollars. By logging on to Smart's U.S. site, www.smartusa.com, interested customers can pay a registration fee of $99 to earn a place in line when the minicars finally invade. What that money gets you is a place on the list, along with your color and model choices. Unfortunately, it doesn't actually guarantee that you'll get a car. If your order cannot be filled, the full $99 will be returned.
The big news, though, is that the registration form provides some early pricing estimates. The base trim, called Pure, will be priced under $12,000, but doesn't even feature a radio. To get that, you'll have to buy the $14,000 Passion model. Taking the top off the Passion for the cabrio model costs another $3000. This may seem like a pretty high price for something so tiny, but the $12,000 base is thousands under what many of us expected. The Fortwo may be small, but it is European, Mercedes-supported, and trendy. With that said, the interior plastics of the Smarts we've seen aren't fantastic, and they're by no means performance machines. We think the pricing is right where it needs to be, along the lines of the equally trendy Scion xB.