TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Who's idea was the Smart Car?

May 20, 2014 – Who's idea was the micro Smart Car?

In the early 1990s, Nicholas Hayek of Swatch, the company famous for its wide range of colorful and trendy plastic watches which debuted in the 1980s, went to German automaker Mercedes-Benz with his idea for an “ultra-urban” car.

swatch watches

The result of their joint venture was the diminutive Smart (an acronym for Swatch Mercedes ART) ForTwo, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997 and went on sale in nine European countries over the next year.

Smart car

Measuring just over eight feet from bumper to bumper, the original ForTwo was marketed as a safe, fuel-efficient car that could be maneuvered easily through narrow, crowded city streets. Despite its popularity among urban Europeans, Smart posted significant losses, and Swatch soon pulled out of the joint venture.

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