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The car brand Smart is owned by Daimler. The Smart goes back to the idea of the founder of the Swatch Group, the Swiss watchmaker Nicolas G. Hayek. Founded in 1994, two design studies and design concepts from the 1980s preceded the development of the car, which should be smaller than the VW Polo class. Hayek gave all his shares to Daimler-Benz in 1998. The mini cars finally have been produced directed by the newly founded Smart company since 2002.
The name of the brand expresses the desired characteristics of the car model, at the same time it refers to the cross-connections with the establishment of the business. The word "smart" should connect to "modern" and "chic”. It is also a composition of the founding parties Swatch and Mercedes with the word "art".
The first car was introduced originally as the City Coupé in 1998. Already with the first model an entry into the market of the small, innovative city cars was made, that fit into every parking space. Since its revision in 2010, the second-generation miniature car is now called Fortwo. Especially the reduction of CO2-emissions in the diesel version is a decisive criterion for the good positioning on the European market. By 2013, 1.5 million vehicles left the Smartville Hambach factory. In the following years, the company showed a significant increase – Smart was the strongest of all brands in Germany in 2015.
After the Fortwo was released also in a convertible and roadster version, the company presented in 2004 new models. The trial to expand the range with a small car and four-seater, failed because of declining sales. The production of the Forfour was stopped after two years in 2006 for the time being. Last year also the production of the Roadster ended ultimate. But the Fourfour was resumed in 2014. An economically difficult situation resulted in a restructuring of the business, at the end of which Smart GmbH was dissolved in 2006. But the business maintained with the integration of the “Smart centers” into the branches of Daimler.
The Brabus version of the Fortwo was finally extended 20 centimetres, in order to be able to go on the market in the USA. Since 2008, the car has been favoured there, due high fuel prices.
New models such as the off-road Formore were designed specifically for the North American market but have not yet been introduced.
Cars that are traded under the umbrella of electric mobility, are cost-saving and environmentally friendly. The model micro hybrid drive from 2007 with the so-called start-stop-system was a first attempt to reduce the consumption. When the car stopped, the engine automatically turned off. A hybrid drive, which sounds like the model’s name, was although not part of the design.
Last year, Smart completed the first series of cars powered by electric drive in London and then continued to develop the Smart ED (electric drive) from 2009 onwards. The vehicles were first used by a car-sharing provider.
The European Program for Climate Protection aims to reduce CO2 emissions. Such programs theoretically favour the market for cars with electric drive. While the cars until mid-2012 were retrofitted individually, gradually e-cars become more present on the roads, for instance because of the German participation in research projects. In 2015, the ED was the second-most-sold electric car in Germany before the Renault Zoe. The electrically driven types were developed in collaboration with the third generation of the Renault Twingo, which was presented in 2014 for the first time. In the meantime, the models have been revised. The battery-powered electric drive is available as the Smart Fortwo in the latest 453 series from 2016 and in the convertible line. It is also traded as Forfour again.
The fortwo is offered in 11 versions, including two Brabus lines. Ten Fortwo models, except for the special model edition blackbuster, are all shown in the Fortwo Cabriolet version. The small car Forfour is currently presented with 9 model versions.