If you're in the market for a new car and don't fancy a road-hogging 4x4, then perhaps the Smart Car is the one for you. Part of the Daimler AG brand, the Smart Car is a form of microcar created in Hambach in France and Bobligen in Germany. You might not know this about the logo, but it shows a grey 'c' and a yellow arrow, this is to represent 'compact' and the arrow is to symbolise forward thinking. Designs for the run-around car began in the 1980s when Nicholas Hayek of SMH began to explore ideas for a smaller form of car, as the CEO of Swatch he felt that the industry hadn't catered for a small and funky car, much like his company's approach to watch-making.
It was in 1991 that Hayek shared his ideas with Volkswagen and the Smart Car began the idea of concept stage development. The first idea was to create a car that ran on a three-litre fuel tank, consuming three litres per 100km driven. Hayek decided to seek support from other companies and offered his Swatchmobile project to other Car manufacturers. A number of car companies rejected his designs, but Daimler-Benz AG (a subsidiary of Mercedez-Benz) decided to take it on in 1994. They began to develop concept cars that would become the first real designs for the Smart Car.
The assembly plant was opened in 1997 by the French President Jacques Chirac and the unveiling of the Smart city-Coupe was set for March 1998. Daimler-Benz bought out SMH's share and went into production as 'smart GmbH'. Models such as the Smart Fortwo and the Roadster soon hit the market and customers were buying and leasing a Smart Car as quick and agile city run-arounds. In more recent years their electric version has been on limited release in the UK with plans to create serial production of battery-powered models over this year. One of its main selling points is its low CO2 emission figures and compact size.