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Manufacturers / France / Smart


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Smart vehicles


1990


Fortwo
Smart Fortwo   (1999)

The Smart Fortwo is manufactured at Smartville, a purpose-built factory complex in Hambach, Lorraine, France, established in 1994 as a joint-venture of Daimler-Benz and the Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch.

The project was originally supported by Swatch, and was nicknamed the "Swatchmobile". The car was supposed to use innovative features (such as a hybrid engine) and to be an affordable car for young people. Its purpose was to "transport two people and a case of beer" (later replaced by a case of water).

Being inexperienced in automobiles, Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek sought an established car maker to produce his Swatch car, and found a partner in Volkswagen. Plans never reached a final stage so Swatch teamed up with Daimler-Benz. The car proved to be far from expectations: technology was conventional and it was more expensive than most small 4-seater cars sold in Europe. The joint venture experienced heavy losses and Swatch pulled out.

In 2005, DaimlerChrysler decided against purchasing a 50% share in the NedCar plant used to manufacture the Forfour. DC also halted development on the Formore and decided to discontinue production of the Roadster.



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