The history of the "Smart" brand began in the early 1990s. At this time, Nicholas Hayek, the owner of the watch company "Swatch Group", was actively working on a project of a compact city car that would take up a minimum of space in the city traffic, while remaining roomy enough to carry passengers. In 1993, he began to prepare for the opening of a new brand together with Mercedes-Benz, and in 1994 a joint venture was opened in the Swiss city of Bienne, which was named Micro Compact Car AG. A year later, a prototype of the car was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and in 1996 it received a prize for its unusual design in Maastrich. In the same year, the company opened the production of engines for cars of the brand.
However, suspension problems discovered during testing in 1997 prevented production from starting. Having eliminated them, the company began producing cars only in mid-1998, presenting the City Coupe model to customers. At the same time, Swatch decided to step back from project management by selling its stake to its partner, Daimler-Benz.
The car released for sale was less than 2.5 meters in length, which allowed it to have an extremely low turning radius, as well as require a minimum of parking space. In addition, a lot of attention was paid to safety in its development, since a small car must provide passengers with the same protection as a standard-size car. The City Coupe was powered by a 600cc 3-cylinder turbocharged engine that produced 61 horsepower. Fuel consumption per 100 kilometers did not exceed 6 liters.
In 1999, the company released a diesel model with a 41 horsepower engine. And the total volume of cars produced exceeded 100,000 copies. In the same year, the company began accepting orders for its products via the Internet, becoming the first in this direction among automakers.
2001 was marked for "MCC Smart" (as the company was called by that time) with the beginning of sales in Japan and Great Britain. And the following year, the firm introduced the Crossblade in Geneva, which soon began shipping to 17 countries. Also, in 2002 the name of the company was changed to "Smart GmbH", after which the production of 2 more models - Roadster and Roadster Coupe started, the sales of which began in 2003, with an updated logo.
In 2004, in collaboration with Mitsubishi, the company presented the Forfour model with 4-cylinder engines of different power - from 68 to 100 horsepower. However, it was produced only until 2006 due to low demand. She was replaced by "Smart" released first hybrid Crosstown, and then the second generation Fortwo, with a turbocharged engine. And in 2007, the company introduced its first EV electric car, which went on sale in European markets since 2010.
In 2008, the Fortwo celebrated its 10th anniversary, and its total sales reached 900,000 units. Also, the firm entered the American markets. And since 2009, "Smart" has been releasing a new generation of this car with an updated interior and an expanded list of options.
In 2010, the second generation Smart Fortwo underwent an upgrade. It was this version that became the first to be officially sold in Russia. Prior to that, deliveries of the brand's cars to the Russian market were carried out by small firms that are not official dealers of Smart.
The car was presented in two versions: with an atmospheric 71-horsepower and a turbocharged 84-horsepower engine. Both power units have three cylinders and 1 liter of volume, and are also aggregated with a robotic mechanical transmission.
The third generation Smart Fortwo was presented by the automaker in 2014. This car differs significantly from its predecessor both in technical stuffing and in appearance. He shares the platform with Renault Twingo. No matter how hard the engineers tried to keep the size of the car, it still grew a little: by 8 mm in length and 10 mm in width.
Thanks to the increased rear overhang, the boot volume has increased, which is now 260 liters compared to 230 liters of its predecessor. Also, the car has got more rigid suspension and shock absorbers. Crosswind Control as standard, which adjusts the braking of the desired wheel to prevent rollover
Now, in 2015, Smart is sold in 46 countries in Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia, and Europe. At the beginning of 2015, the total sales of cars of the brand exceeded 1.7 million units. The main buyers of Smart are people who can afford to buy 2-3 cars and prefer to overcome the difficulties of city traffic in a comfortable and stylish car, created by one of the leaders of the automotive industry.