The car, which was Steve Martin's ride in "The Pink Panther," Tom Hanks' in "The Da Vinci Code," and also appeared in "Garfield 2," is driven by Russell Crowe in the new film, premiering next month. Crowe plays an American investment banker who retires to Provence to discover his inner sommelier.
The car -- Smart's fortwo -- plays a critical role introducing Crowe to his future love interest. While fooling with the car's navigation system, he nearly runs her over. She meets him later when she recognizes his car at the vineyard he's to inherit.
The company said product placement for Smart, which comes to the U.S. in 2008, is part of its ongoing marketing strategy. The company promoted its association with "The Pink Panther" through an online competition and road rally in areas where the movie was filmed.
Smart, which had a stint as a short-lived U.S. sales arm within Mercedes-Benz, will be sold in the U.S. through a distribution agreement with United Auto Group, starting with 30 to 50 of UAG's dealerships.