STUTTGART: In comparison with the US auto market at this moment in time, Rodin's 'Thinker' is positively hyperactive. And it's not only indigenous American models whose sales are backfiring; European and Asian imports have also stalled on dealer lots. Except for Daimler's vest-pocket, eco-friendly miniature Smart Car.

The tiny town runabout has sold more models in the stagnant US market than in any other nation except for Germany and Italy where minicars are virtually national institutions.

According to Daimler, 2008 stateside sales of the French-made two-seater had been projected at 16,000 units, but this figure was exceed by 50% bringing total sales for the year to 24,000 vehicles.

Moreover, says Roger Penske, head of Detroit-based dealership chain Penske Group, sales "didn't really get started until February".

Meantime, wannabe Smart Car owners are languishing on a six-month waiting list as Detroit's Big Three eat their hearts out!

Data sourced from Deutsche Welle (Germany); additional content by WARC staff