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‘Smart For Two’ is cool for geeks

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Jill Barshay: It’s got a three-cylinder engine, and will get up 69 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s the new, tiny two-seater from Mercedes, and it’ll hit the U.S. market next year. The German automaker will begin its marketing blitz today in Silicon Valley. Jill Barshay Reports.


Jill Barshay: Automakers often choose trendy and celebrity-packed Los Angeles to show off new cars. But Mercedes is taking 250 automotive reporters to Silicon Valley today. Over the next two weeks, they’ll be test-driving the Smart For Two from Stanford University, to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, to the Googleplex in Mountain View.

Mike Austin: There’s this weird “geek chic” thing going on. There’s such a thing as a cool geek now.

That’s Mike Austin at Car and Driver magazine. He says the Smart For Two is so freakishly small that Mercedes needed to find a population willing to try new stuff.

Austin: They might not be the cool kids, they might not be the person with the best table at the nice restaurant. But the people they know look to them for what’s the next thing. So, it’s a pretty good marketing strategy, I think.

Even if at three feet shorter than a Mini Cooper, it’s a pretty tight squeeze.

I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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