Smart Zeitleiste

The history of the smart

Technical advances turned an idea from the 1970s into a small and unmistakable city car. Smart is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes Daimler and stands for compactness, safety, comfort and driving pleasure. In collaboration with the inventor of the Swatch watch, Mercedes developed a compact, full-fledged city car with an unmistakable design. This new vehicle was presented to the public for the first time in 1997 at the IAA. The lively two-seater was first sold in nine European countries, and later also in the USA and China. Over the years, the design and the model range have also been adapted to customer requirements. With the convertible, the roadster, the four-seater and the crossover, every customer requirement was catered for. The inner workings were also further developed, so that the city runabout became an economical and environmentally friendly vehicle that also easily fits into a parking space.

The history

The Smart is the smallest city car from Mercedes-Benz AG, which, despite being only two and a half meters long, offers comfort, safety and driving pleasure. When it comes to equipment, the little one can easily keep up. The city car has continued to develop over the years. He easily adapted to the needs of customers. It doesn't matter whether you drive the classic Smart Fortwo or you prefer to drive the Smart Roadster in a sporty way, driving fun and little are guaranteed. The all-wheel-drive version is available for those who like to travel off-road frequently. But all models have one thing in common: they are manoeuvrable, safe and fit in (almost) every parking space.

The birth

The inventor of the Swatch watch, Nicolas G. Hayek, announced in 1989 that he wanted to inspire people with a small city car. He wanted to launch a small and distinctive city car. When he was looking for an experienced partner, he came across Mercedes-Benz. However, Nicolas G. Hayek did not know that Mercedes-Benz had had the idea of ​​a "car of the future" in the drawer of ideas since the 1970s. However, the idea could not be technically implemented at the time because it repeatedly failed due to the strict safety requirements of Mercedes.

A new vehicle concept was soon developed thanks to Swatch's hundred years of experience in automobile construction, technical advances and creativity. A new car brand was born: smart.

Micro Ccmpact Car AG, which was based in Switzerland, was soon established. Now a suitable production site was sought. There were over 70 locations around the world to choose from. Eventually, Hambach was awarded the contract in France. The development was still at Mercedes-Benz in Germany.

Because of differences with Mercedes-Benz, Nicolas G. Hayek got out of the contract relatively soon. The newly founded brand went to Mercedes-Benz AG as a wholly owned subsidiary.

The performance in Germany

The new city coupe was presented for the first time in 1997 at the International Motor Show (IAA). The small city runabout truly presented itself as a world first. A full-fledged car that is no longer than two and a half meters long, fits across a parking space and still offers comfort and safety has never existed on the automotive market. The security concept, which is actually quite simple, was also convincing. A hard shell protects the soft core, like a nut.

production and development

Production of the new city runabout began in July 1998. Sales in nine European countries started three months later. (Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain).

Over the years, Smart surprised with other models and series. From 2000 onwards, the smallest convertibles that were mass-produced rolled on the streets. Technical innovations have made the smart vehicles even more comfortable, dynamic and safe. There was a small model for every vehicle taste. The roadster for those who are more attracted to sports cars and the all-wheel drive variant for those who love SUVs.
The standard equipment includes technologies that are otherwise only found in high vehicle classes.

Functionality, comfort and safety still come first today. The impressive design, most of which you can put together yourself, promises driving pleasure and joie de vivre.