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It's a small-car world

Automakers are working on a new generation of ultra-tiny cars. And some of them could make it to the U.S.

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Smart ForTwo
Smart ForTwo
Most automakers sell more smaller cars overseas than they sell here. Americans like space and plenty of utility in their vehicles, marketers say. Hence, the popularity of crossover SUVs.

So Daimler took a big leap in bringing its ultra-tiny Smart ForTwo to the United States this year. It's still too soon to tell if this two-seat "city car" will be a long-term success in America, but competitors are keeping a close eye on it.

With rising gas prices and greater environmental awareness, demand for small cars is increasing. The Mini Cooper is already an established success. Newer models like the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and the redesigned Ford Focus are capturing more customers as well.

Now, more carmakers are considering the idea that Americans might actually enjoy the sort of very small cars that have been popular just about everywhere else. Some of the those shown here will probably never make it to the United States, but a few certainly will.

NEXT: Chevrolet Beat
Last updated May 07 2008: 11:53 AM ET