The Smart Fortwo Success Story

The Smart Fortwo, first released in 1998, is a vehicle that leaves no one indifferent. This innovative car is a symbol of urban efficiency, known for its fuel efficiency, unmatched manoeuvrability, and ability to slip into almost any parking space. The short history of the Fortwo is one of creativity, experimentation, and forward-thinking innovation.

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A car unlike any other

This Smart Fortwo is a universally recognisable vehicle, one that breaks from the mould of the traditional city car and is truly unlike any other automobile on the market today. It has unparalleled manoeuvrability, fuel consumption that is easy on the wallet and the environment, and is undoubtedly an instant conversation starter. What other car can park perpendicularly in a space normally designated for parallel parking? It’s not surprising that this unique car has garnered quite the name for itself over its short history.  Interestingly, the idea for the Smart car came first not from an automobile manufacturer, but the makers of the Swatch brand of watches. Near the end of 1982, Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek began to conceive of a new type of compact, stylish city car that could be energy-efficient, convenient, and easily customizable. The original idea for the Smart car was presented to a wide variety of auto manufacturers before Hayek finally struck a deal with venerable brand Daimler-Benz AG.  In fact, the name “Smart” is an abbreviated version of “Swatch Mercedes Art.”

From the road to the gallery

The Smart Fortwo was introduced in 1998 and is a redesigned version of the original Smart City Coupé. The name makes reference to the fact that it is a two-seater (as compared to its former four-seater counterpart, the Forfour). The Fortwo features a rear-mounted three-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive system, and an incredible fuel efficiency. When it was released into the market, the diesel version of the Fortwo sported an internal combustion engine that boasted the lowest carbon emissions of any in the world. The Fortwo has been sold in diverse markets worldwide, and has even been credited with spawning a subculture of dedicated Smart car enthusiasts drawn to its quirkiness and unparalleled utility in an urban setting. In fact, the Museum of Modern Art in New York even includes a first-generation Fortwo in its permanent collection, certainly a unique distinction for an automobile, but perhaps apt for one that so succinctly expresses the technological spirit of our time.

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More relevant now more than ever

It is indeed true that Daimler has invested a tremendous amount of money into the development of the Fortwo. It has always been a car that has gone against the grain, but it is one that the modern automobile market needs more than ever. The latest version of the ForTwo is its best and most refined iteration yet, featuring a sleeker design that retains the spirit of the vehicle while increasing room for passengers and improving driveability. A natural fit due to its small size and objective as an efficient city vehicle, the first all-electric version of the Fortwo entered the development phase in 2006. The Fortwo is perhaps now better situated than ever before to be the forward-thinking innovation it was always meant to be.

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