15 hottest products of 2008: the smart car

Smart is back.

Maybe nerds in school still get stuffed in lockers, but it does seem like it's cool again to be smart. America just voted for president a man who is lauded for his intelligence. The public in general seems to be getting smarter about spending money, or at least is thinking a lot about how we spend money. The sales of Smarties candies is on the rise (okay, I'm stretching, but I wanted another "smart" example). And then there's the popularity of the smart car.

The smart car is made by Mercedes-Benz which so far just manufactures one style: the smart fortwo. (Frustrating grammariarns and journalists everywhere, Mercedes-Benz spells the smart car with a lower case "s" and then smashes the "for" and "two" together, so, no, the smart fortwo is not a typo. And the "for two" reference is just what you think. Two people can fit in this vehicle. It's not exactly a family car.)

The smart fortwo started selling in Europe in 1998, but a recent redesign has made it a hot commodity in America in 2008: 20,000 smart cars have been sold in America this year so far; worldwide, around 140,000. And plenty more will continue to be sold. If you go to a smart car dealership in America, you can't drive one off the lot. You have to get on a waiting list.

Not bad, considering the state of the auto industry today.