Dodge Nitro Forum
Drive the streets of Paris, Rome, Barcelona or London and you’ll see the smart fortwo has become more than just fuel efficient transportation – it has become the “it” car in many countries throughout the world. In fact, we could say that the 750,000 smart fortwos sold in 36 countries are now a worldwide statement on innovation, intelligence, functionality and the simple joy of driving.
Now the United States will join the party. In January 2008 smart comes to the States leaving its exhibit space at the Museum of Modern Art (it is one of only six cars in the world to achieve this distinction and the only one still in production and on sale today).
Preparations for the smart fortwo began in the early 1990’s with a Joint Venture between Mercedes-Benz and Swatch, the makers of Swatch watches known for their wide array of colorful designs. Nicolas Hayek, the inventor of the Swatch watch brought his ideas for an “ultra-urban” car to Mercedes-Benz.
- smart remains a vital member of the Mercedes Car Group, a Daimler Chrysler Company.
- smart USA, a division of UnitedAuto Group, will be the exclusive distributor for smart in America and Puerto Rico. smart USA is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The smart fortwo is already somewhat of a “star” in the United States. It has the privileged distinctions of being on display as a work of art at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. It is the only vehicle on display at MOMA which is still in production and on sale today.
Full development of the concept started in 1994 and the smart fortwo debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 1997. The response was fantastic. The smart fortwo garnered more print space and TV coverage than any other car at the show.
Production began in 1998 in Hambach, France. That same year, smart became a 100% owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz AG (today DaimlerChrysler).
The challenge of the smart fortwo design started with the approach to safety. The answer was the tridion safety cell, a “hard shell” that surrounds the smart fortwo’s occupants with an energy absorbing system of longitudinal and transverse structural members. Then the engineering team added Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and ABS brakes to make smart even more technologically advanced.
Other innovations like the selection of energy efficient and recyclable materials, the removable door panels (you can change the color of your smart as you desire) and a high driving position for great visibility in a small car combined to make smart a true revolution in driving style.
Since its introduction the smart product range has continued to expand and now includes a sporty Cabriolet model. And the innovation continues. We’re constantly pushing the envelope of automotive design to keep smart at the leading edge.