The car brand smart is known for developing capsule vehicles that have proved popular with entrepreneurs, business people and those seeking smaller vehicles that come with reasonable price tags. This car manufacturer has a long and vivid history, with many ingenious car models to have come from it in the past.
Smart was founded in 1994 in Germany, when Nicolas Hayek approached Daimler-Benz AG to bring the project to them. The car was currently called the Swatchmobile, which then was renamed to the Mercedes-Benz City Car. Nicolas Hayek still felt the car held the “Swatchmobile” image and name so they decided to use the term smart, which came from an internal term meaning Swatch Mercedes Art.
In December 1994, they decided to build the car using the Hambach purpose-built factory in France; shortly after, the area was nicknamed ‘smartville’ to pay homage to the company.
The first generation smart car was called the Smart City Coupé (model W450) and first appeared in 1998 and then was replaced by a facelift model in 2002. Originally the basic petrol engine was 599 cc, and came in three versions - 45 hp (33 kW), 51 hp (41 kW) and 61 hp (45 kW).
The smart crossblade came in as a limited edition variation of the city cabrio model in 2002, It didn’t have a roof, a windshield or normal doors. But it did have an Engine created by Brabus. Robbie Williams purchased one the 008 model created.
smart then worked alongside him in a marketing association helping to promote the ForFour.
The smart Roadster and Roadster Coupé was introduced in 2003, it was created on the base of the smart ForTwo. The two variations have been inspired by cars such as the Triumph Spitfire. The car came with an electrical softtop or a Targa roof, a steering wheel that was similar to an F1 car, with the gear paddles behind the wheel to control the semi-automatic transmission that was in the 698cc 3 cylinder Suprex engine.
In 2004 the smart first generation was re-named to the smart ForTwo and the smart ForFour was launched!
The smart ForFour was only available within Europe; unlike previous smart cars only having three doors, the ForFour had 5 doors and came as a 4 or 5 seated car. When the ForFour was launched the sales brochure had the headline "designed around the concept of a lounge", so to test this TopGear presenters spent 24 hours inside the ForFour.
The second generation of the smart ForTwo (model 451) was launched in November 2006; it was slightly longer and had improved crash performance. The smart ForTwo is equipped with seat-mounted combination side airbags as well as electronic stability control. To increase the safety of the front crumple zone, the smart ForTwo's engine is rear-mounted. It kept the exposed rigid steel frame, marketed as the ‘Tridion’ frame and interchangeable plastic body panels.
The ForTwo is the lightest car in production in Europe, the model 451 also included a new 799cc engine and a Brabus tuned engine up to 999cc.
The smart ForTwo Electric Drive called the smart ed; it’s a battery electric vehicle version of the smart ForTwo. The car was originally tested in London back in 2007 with 100 cars. The second generation was created in 2009 and available in 18 countries around the world through leasing or the Car2Go scheme; it was a success with over 2,300 units delivered.
The third generation of the smart ed was launched in May 2013 in the United States and in the United Kingdom; the car was set for mass production and to be entered in to multiple countries all around the world, selling 4,130 cars in just 2013 alone.
smart has produced some incredibly well-known vehicles in its time and is certain to set 2014 apart as one of the best producers of microcars in the world. Do you have a smart car, or would you like to own one? Let us know your thoughts!