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smart

Germany Germany (1994 - present)
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History


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History

The origin of smart dates back to the end of the 90s when Nicolas Hayek, CEO of SMH, the holding company of watch manufacturer Swatch, began developing the idea of ​​creating a car that had the same strategies based on production and personalization of Swatch watches .

The idea soon came to be known as "Swatchmobile" and Hayek's private company, Hayek Engineering AG, began developing the new car for SMH with room for two passengers and hybrid engine.

Hayek knew that car manufacturers might feel threatened by Swatchmobile, so instead of competing directly with them, he decided to meet them to find a brand to cooperate in the project. After several attempts Hayek reached an agreement in July 1991 with VolkswagenVolkswagenVolkswagenGermany, 1938 > present96 models
9611 photos
31 videos
to share the development of the new project.

Smart Roadster

Smart Roadster

© photo courtesy of: smart

But the partnership with Volkswagen would not be safe with the arrival of the place of Ferdinand Piëch of Volkswagen CEO in 1993. The new CEO immediately thought about canceling the project because Volkswagen was already working on the future LupoLupoVolkswagen LupoGermany, 1998 > 20054 versions
12 photos
, which the make thought to be a better product for the market.

With the possibility of canceling the project, Hayek decided to establish new contacts with other brands featuring the project Swatchmobile. After being rejected by BMWBMWBMWGermany, 1918 > present85 models
8463 photos
43 videos
, FiatFiatFiatItaly, 1899 > present158 models
4864 photos
35 videos
, General MotorsGMGMUnited States of America, 1998 > present8 models
240 photos
and RenaultRenaultRenaultFrance, 1898 > present186 models
6013 photos
17 videos
, Hayek reached an informal agreement with Daimler-Benz AG, owner of Mercedes-BenzMercedes-BenzMercedes-BenzGermany, 1924 > present196 models
9803 photos
33 videos
.

The new agreement between the two parties was announced on March 4, 1994, at a press conference at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart. Thus was born the Micro Compact Car AG (MCC).

The beginning

One of the first controversies within the MCC was the model's name. While Nicolas Hayek insisted that the name Swatch should stays in anyway, Daimler refused it and wanted a neutral name. That's how the name ended up smart, an acronym for Swatch Mercedes Art

With 74 possible sites of production of smart, in December 1994 the MCC eventually chose to install the "smartville" in Hambach, France. For the production model Tomforde, member of the board of the MCC, insisted on creating a modular system of production for the smart so that some suppliers would also take an active part, thus reducing production costs but also in development for MCC.For that purpose MCC signed contracts with companies such as Faurecia, for seats, VDO for interiors, chassis modules and ports became responsibility of Magna while the door panels and the suspension were provided by Dynamit Nobel and Krupp, respectively.

Despite this great division of the MCC costs, the company would still require a recapitalization, in which Daimler-Benz increased its share in the company becoming owner of 81% of the assets.

Smart Forfour

Smart Forfour

© photo courtesy of: smart

The launch of the smart City-coupesmart cdi city coupésmart smart cdi city coupéGermany, 1999 > present73 photos
happened in October 1998, simultaneously in nine European countries. Shortly after Daimler-Benz bought the remaining assets of the company from SMH, becoming the sole owner of MCC.

In 1999 the MCC GmbH changed its name to MCC smart GmbH and in 2000, left behind traces of connection with the SMH, with the brand being called simply smart GmbH.

Expansion of the range

The models range of smart was increased with the launch of the smart roadsterGN VitesseUnited Kingdom, 1922 > 19221 serie
1 Version
and ForfourGN TouringUnited Kingdom, 1921 > 19211 serie
1 Version
, but the brand's ambitious goals were not achieved. In fact between 2003 and 2006 losses of smart got to 4 billion euros. So plans began for the company's absorption by DaimlerChrysler.

After the planned formore model and production of the Roadster and ForFour were cancelled Smart was liquidated and absorbed by DaimlerChrysler in 2006.

Currently smart operates as part of Mercedes-Benz and features only one model in its range: the Fortwo.



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