smart is a German company that gained international fame for producing uniquely-styled, highly-efficient microcars.
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In the late 1980s, SMH (makers of the Swatch brand of watches) CEO Nicolas Hayek began working on an idea for a new urban car. He approached several automakers and reached an agreement with Volkswagen in 1991.
By 1993, Ferdinand Piëch immediately sought to terminate the ''Swatchmobile'' project since VW had already been developing their own three-litre car (3L/100km): the Lupo.
Hayek had suspected that Piëch would seek to end the agreement with SMH, so he discreetly began approaching other car companies. Rebuffed by BMW, Fiat, General Motors and Renault, he finally sealed a deal with Daimler-Benz (owner of Mercedes-Benz Cars) in 1994. The press conference also featured the debut of two concept cars: the eco-sprinter and eco-speedster.
The assembly plant of the smart city coupé – the brand's first production model – opened in late October 1997, with deliveries planned for March 1998. However, dynamic instability of the prototypes prompted Daimler-Benz to delay the launch until October 1998.
For two years, the city coupé was the lone model in the lineup. A convertible variant called city cabrio appeared on the market at the turn of the century. Both cars received cosmetic upgrades in 2002 before being renamed fortwo and fortwo cabrio in 2004.
The second generation made its debut three years later and continues to grace showrooms to this day. While relatively new to the game, smart did come up with a couple of special cars as well, including the roadster (2003-2005), forfour (2004-2006) and crossblade (2002).
As "old" as the idea of an electric car
is, they're still very much a novel sight
when spotted silently cruising down the
road. Why? Well, as the trend was so slow
to progress in the auto industry, they
are still few and far between despite the
technology being readily available to
make them nearly as common as Corollas.
Marital status aside, my week behind the wheel of the 2013 smart fortwo passion was both amusing and enlightening. This was my first time piloting the two-seater city-dweller, and I was hesitant about how I'd take to the just over -$18k (as tested) micromini. But take to it I did, quite a bit actually.
Cities are making a comeback. They never really went away but what drove people to the burbs and further away still, the cheap cost of energy, is now a thing of the past.
The all-new smart fortwo and forfour made their world debut in Berlin this week as the pair readies for a market launch in Europe four months from now.
Advertisers always strive to make a product look good, but this new ad promoting the smart fortwo does the exact opposite by showing all the things you can't do with the iconic microcar.
Since 2012 green vehicles have been the talk of the town from Canadian government financial incentives to a new CAA web page dedicated to the implementation of charging stations at various locations throughout the country.