Apparently, they had to add diamonds to meet American standards

Loki was so excited this morning when he came home from work. He held up the front page of the business section of USA Today (he works at a hotel) and pointed out the picture of his favorite tiny car, the SmartCar

Only now, after a three years of working to get the cars to meet U.S. safety and environmental regulations — and battling with giant DaimlerChrysler — is there a respectable batch of cars to dole out to dealers.

More than 100 cars have been shipped to sales lots. The remainder, about 250, fill a yard in an industrial area of this Orange County enclave. Here, the cars await their turn to be outfitted with myriad environmental and safety items — from stronger bumpers to better interior padding — to make them legal for sale in the USA.

So Loki thought he was going to try to get himself a SmartCar. And then came the bad news:

Prices start at $24,000, but some dealers say they are fetching as much as $30,000

I saw them advertised in the French paper for a little over 8000 euros! So now I'll start seeing asshole insurance executives driving around Hartford in their SmartCars - the ones they use for commuting, while their Lexus SUV is for weekend trips to the Vineyard.

Middle class and working poor people need fuel efficient cars, too!

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