Slogan: Open Your Mind
A brand of miniature cars owned by a German concern Daimler-Benz.
At the origins of the creation of a minicar is a Swiss watch company SMHknown all over the world thanks to the brand swatch. She owns the idea and concept. But the Swiss could not implement the project on their own, so they decided to turn to the giants of the German auto industry. Initially, negotiations were held with Volkswagen. But unsuccessfully. As a result, partner swatch became Daimler-Benz. This is how the joint venture was born. Micro Compact Car AG (mms). By that time, the Germans themselves were rushing around with the idea of a miniature car, so the arrival of the Swiss turned out to be very helpful.
In 1998, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the first Smart City-Coupe was presented - a two-seater car, of an original design, unusual design, 2.5 meters long. Of particular note is its name, which is not only translated from English as "Smart ass", but is also a composite of "S" – "Swatch", "M" – Mercedes, "Art" – "art". And there really was art here - in 2002, a car Smart honored to become an exhibit of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
|Smart Fortwo with open top (image from the official website)|
The mastermind behind the Swatchmobile, SMH CEO Nicolas Hayek, was disappointed. He then saw a machine with an electric motor, stuffed with various "smart" electronics. But in Daimler-Benz decided to postpone the creation of environmentally friendly cars indefinitely. All this led to the fact that SMH sold her shares to the Germans and went out of business. However, there is an opinion that the management of the Swiss company was simply disappointed in the enterprise, since the initial sales of the "four-wheeled stools" were frankly low and nothing threatened their growth - the public took the novelty very wary. The machine is certainly cute, but perhaps too much; fuel economy and undemanding parking is certainly not bad, but it is more convenient to stand in traffic jams in full-size cars; and won't the neighbors laugh? But viral marketing and traditional European stinginess played a role - sales went up. However, very slowly. A serious blow to the concept of a car that is easy to park was a ban adopted in some cities and countries on “cross parking”, when two Smarts were put in one standard place at once, but across.
In 2002 Micro Compact Car renamed to just Smart GmbH. A new model appeared on sale, quite attractive in appearance - Smart Roadster. The company begins to actively expand the range, releasing a four-seater Forfour, which completely violates the concepts once proposed by the Swiss. Sales are on, but at the same unhurried pace.
It all ended with a deafening crash in 2006. Huge financial losses forced liquidation Smart GmbH. As a result, the release of cars under the brand Smart went completely to Daimler-Benz, whose management decided to keep the established brand. Of all the models, only one was left - a small, double Smart Fortwo. It enjoys a small but fairly stable demand.
The appearance of miniature Smart could not pass by the attention of the ubiquitous Chinese. In 2007 the company Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan Automobile Co introduced the Shuanghuan Noble (aka Shuanghuan Bubble), which looked amazingly like a German-Swiss creation. Outraged Daimler AG immediately sued the Chinese manufacturer. But all she managed to achieve was a ban on Noble sales in some countries.
To the credit of the Chinese, it should be noted that they still came to an environmentally friendly car by introducing the Wheego Whip in the US - an electric version of the Noble.