smart car history timeline
General Motors launched connected cars with its OnStar system, which used your mobile phone to call 911 in an accident. Today the technology links with the phones’ GPS location to guide the emergency services straight to the car.
On January 25, 2010, Smart USA began its first lease program in the US market for Smart Fortwo models.  The program was scheduled to last through February 28, 2010, but has been extended indefinitely despite lack of leasing sales.
10,239 Smart Fortwo cdis had been sold in Canada by the first month of 2008. Just before the Type 450 ended production (after which the production had equaled 770,256 cars) Mercedes-Benz Canada built up stock of cdis to tide dealers over until the successor model 451 arrived at the end of 2007.
While Hayek’s influence on decisions diminished, he remained one of the leaders behind the smart’s innovative production methods. In December 1994, they decided that the little car would be built in a new plant in Hambach-Sarreguemines, France.
As the smart fortwo heads into its third generation, let’s look back to how it first came to be. It all started in 1972, when Mercedes-Benz decided to explore what cars of the new millennium would look like. The 1973 oil crisis confirmed that they should move forward with a small city-bound car, as the company realized that transportation trends were going to change dramatically in the coming decades.
Smart Canada also commissioned Busch Automodelle GmbH to produce 1:87 scale versions (with a black tridion), of which 10,000 were made.
The first and second generation Fortwo models employ an automated manual transmission, designed and manufactured by Getrag, where the clutch is computer controlled via electrohydraulics, eliminating the need for a clutch pedal. The first generation used a six-speed version, and the second generation uses a five-speed version, model 5AMT130. Input from floor-mounted shifter or optional steering-wheel-mounted paddles controls a servo-operated clutch and sequential automated gearbox. The vehicle may be driven in automatic mode (early models had the option of full automatic mode, or standard “soft-tip” which was manual mode indicated by no button on the gearshift) or in semi-automatic (half automatic) mode via paddle shifters, where the operator controls the shift points but cannot feather or adjust the speed of the clutch.
The Mercedes-Benz museum is open Tuesday through Sunday fro m 9:00 to 18:00. Last admission is at 17:00. Admission to the “smart story” exhibition is free of charge. The museum is closed on 24 and 25 December 2006, on 31 December 2006 and on 01 January 2007.
Studie eco speedster (1993)
Show-Car Paris (1996)
Show-Car Paris (1996)
Studie fashion victim (1997)
Exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz museum:
“smart story” shows the history of the brand – including the new smart fortwo
Not yet at dealerships and already a museum exhibit – those who would like to see the new smart fortwo before it is launched in April 2007 now have an opportunity to do so. From 06 December 2006 to 14 January 2007 the new smart fortwo will be part of the “smart story” exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.
Visitors to the exhibition will see that the design language of the new smart fortwo is a consistent evolution of the original shape. This applies to the design, and it also applies to the engineering of the new car.
The new smart fortwo can do everything that the current model can do – but better. This means that the new smart fortwo is even more comfortable, even more agile, even safer and even more environmentally friendly than its predecessor.
smart story: unusual design studies,
prototypes and show cars
The “smart story” at the Mercedes-Benz museum follows the history of the smart brand based on 18 vehicles. These include unusual design studies, prototypes and show cars, some of which have never previously been presented to the public.
Anders Sundt Jensen, Vice President for Marketing and Sales at smart says “The smart fortwo belongs in a museum – because it challenges the status quo and calls on people to rethink their perceptions, because following its market launch in October 1998 it quickly became a cult vehicle. And last but not least, because we are not only showing the past, with the new smart fortwo we are also showing the future.”
The earliest models on display are the two forerunners of the smart, the “Eco Speedster” and the “Eco Sprinter” dating from the year 1993. In addition to these vehicles, prototypes, show cars and special vehicles for use on the airport runway or by the police or fire brigade are on display. All vehicles exhibited stand for the development of the smart brand and the classlessness of the uncompromising concept of a car that has the clear purpose of ensuring personal mobility for its users in towns and cities.
Last vehicle destined for the museum
A total of 770,256 smart fortwos were produced at the production plant at Hambach in . The last vehicle of the current smart fortwo series rolled off the production line at the end of November. Anders Sundt Jensen will hand this car over to the Mercedes-Benz museum at the opening of the exhibition.
To date more than 770,000 people have decided to switch to a smart fortwo – often to replace a larger car with the lively two-seater. Because the smart fortwo is something special and stands out from the crowd, because it gives them a totally new kind of personal mobility in the city, and last but not least, because it is quite simply fun to drive.