The concept of the smart car began when Daimler-Benz launched a joint venture with the Swatch Company to study the feasibility associated with the development of micro-sized subcompact automobile. In 1994, the 2 companies founded the Micro Compact Car AG Company. In 1997, the smart city-coupe was unveiled at Frankfort, Germany at the IAA. A year later, the car was offered to various other European markets.
The smart car has proven that it doesn't necessarily take an exotic Italian sports car to turn every head passed. There's no other way to describe them except for being over the top in cuteness and diminutive appeal. Although they are slow with their 14.1-second 0 to 60 times, and they top out at 91 miles per hour, smart cars continue to attract the masses because of the superior ability to serve as economical and dependable choices for inner-city and commute-style travels.
The Micro Compact Car AD Company was initially headquartered in Biel, Switzerland. The cars were designed to present the funky Swatch style with the manufacturing excellence associated with Mercedes-Benz. Just after the introduction of the city-coupe, Daimler-Benz bought Swatch out of the deal and moved the headquarters to Germany. At this point, the company renamed itself simply as smart (lower case intention).
The wheelbase of a smart car is about equal to the width of most other cars. That meant that the smart car could theoretically be parked perpendicularly in a parallel parking space. Parking ease and fuel efficiency were the two foundational concepts associated with smart car development. Because of the tiny size, company engineers were inspired to develop the safety of these cars. The result was the 3 steel layers of "tridion" cell structuring. It allowed the vehicle to absorb and distribute the impact forces from substantially larger vehicles and maintain occupant safety. Reinforced axle assembly standards and solid steel door beams have recently earned the 2010 smart fortwo a 5-star side impact crash test rating from the NHTSA.
The success of the early smart models led to the expansion of the company's lineup. In 2003, the Roadster and Roadster Coupe were released for public consumption. The smart forfour was released in 2004 and found to be a bit pricey to induce massive sales as desired. Daimler Chrysler consider severing the entire operation, but, of course we know that didn't happen.
In 2006, the smart fortwo debuted with a slight size increment and increased safety features. At that point, more than 770,000 smart cars had been sold in 36 countries - and the plans were released to offer the smart fortwo to the US market in 2008.
Although many Americans perceived the fortwo as a novelty, it is now in its second year of release in the US - and it is developing quite a solid fan base. It delivers impressive fuel economy in a world that desperately requires it. The future is bright for smart cars - including definitive plans for the release of an all-electric smart car for 2010.