Smart Zeitleiste

The history of the smart

Thanks to technical progress, an idea from the 1970s became a small and distinctive 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 watches, Mercedes developed a compact, full-fledged city car with a distinctive design. This new vehicle was presented to the public for the first time at the IAA in 1997. The speedy two-seater was sold for the first time in nine European countries, and later also in the USA and China. Over the years, the design and 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 interior was also further developed, so that the city car became an economical and environmentally friendly vehicle that also easily fits across 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. The little one can also easily keep up when it comes to features. The city car has continued to develop over the years. He easily adapted to the needs of customers. Regardless of whether you drive the classic Smart Fortwo or prefer sporty driving with the Smart Roadster, driving fun and simplicity are guaranteed. For those who like to travel off-road often, there is an all-wheel drive version. But all models have the following in common: They are maneuverable, safe and fit into (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 bring a small and distinctive city car onto the market. When looking for an experienced partner, he came across Mercedes-Benz. However, Nicolas G. Hayek didn't know that Mercedes-Benz had had the idea of ​​a "car of the future" in its idea drawer since the 1970s. But technically the idea could not be implemented at the time because it repeatedly failed due to Mercedes' strict safety requirements.

Thanks to Swatch's hundred years of experience in automobile manufacturing, technical development and creativity, a new vehicle concept was soon developed. A new car brand was born: smart.

Soon afterwards, Micro Ccmpact Car AG was founded, which was based in Switzerland. Now we were looking for a suitable production location. There were over 70 locations around the world to choose from. Finally, Hambach was awarded the contract in France. Development continued to be at Mercedes-Benz in Germany.

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


The performance in Germany

The new City Coupé was first presented at the International Motor Show (IAA) in 1997. The little city car truly presented itself as a world first. A full-fledged car that was no longer than two and a half meters long, fit sideways into a parking space and still offered comfort and safety was not yet available on the automobile market. The actually quite simple security concept was also convincing. A solid shell, like a nut, protects the soft core.


Production and development

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

Over the next few years, Smart surprised people with additional models and series. From 2000 onwards, the smallest convertibles that were mass-produced were on the roads. Technical innovations have made smart vehicles even more comfortable, dynamic and safer. 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 version for those who love SUVs.
The standard equipment includes technologies that are otherwise only found in high vehicle classes.

Even today, functionality, comfort and safety are our top priority. The impressive design, most of which you can put together yourself, promises driving fun and joie de vivre.