So far so good for Roger Penske’s Smart experiment.

With 16,000 U.S. sales through August, Smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, is on pace to exceed its goal of selling 25,000 of the tiny Fortwo this year.

Smart recently opened three new dealerships in Birmingham, AL; Cincinnati, OH; and in Las Vegas, NV, bringing its total to 72. It plans to add two more stores by the end of the year.

During the dealership selection process last year, Smart USA received more than 1,400 franchise applications from businesses interested in being one of the brand’s exclusive dealers.

“We are opening additional locations in new areas of the country to serve our customers who want to share in the fun and functionality of the Fortwo,” says Dave Schembri, president of Smart USA.

The Smart Fortwo is built at Daimler AG’s Hambach, France, plant. Its proportions are about half the length of the Toyota Avalon sedan, but more than 2 ins. (5 cm) taller. The vehicle is 8.8 ft. (2.68 m) long and 5.1 ft. (1.6 m) wide.

Smart USA says the 2009 Fortwo will be available in three trim levels, ranging in price from $11,590 to $16,590.

dstark@wardsauto.com