However, the start of production was hampered by suspension problems discovered during tests in 1997. Having eliminated them, the company started producing cars only in mid-1998, presenting the City Coupe model to customers. At the same time, Swatch decided to step away from project management, selling its share to its partner, Daimler-Benz.
The released car was less than 2.5 meters long, allowing it to have an extremely low turning radius, as well as requiring a minimum of parking space. In addition, a great deal of attention was paid to safety in its development, since a small car must offer the same protection to passengers as a standard-sized car. The City Coupe was powered by a 600cc turbocharged 3-cylinder motor that produced 61 horsepower of power. Fuel consumption per 100 kilometers did not exceed 6 liters.
In 1999, the company released a diesel model with a 41 horsepower engine. And the total volume of produced cars exceeded 100,000 copies. In the same year, the company began accepting orders for its products via the Internet, becoming the first automaker to do so.
2001 was marked for 'MCC Smart' (as the company was called by then) the beginning of sales in Japan and the UK. And the following year the company introduced the Crossblade model in Geneva, which soon began arriving in 17 countries. Also in 2002, the company's name was changed to Smart GmbH, after which production of two more models - Roadster and Roadster Coupe - was launched, sales of which began in 2003 with a renewed logo.
In 2004, in collaboration with Mitsubishi, the company introduced the Forfour model with 4-cylinder engines of different capacities - from 68 to 100 horsepower. However, it was produced only until 2006 due to low demand. Smart replaced it with a hybrid Crosstown, and then a second-generation Fortwo with a turbocharged engine. And in 2007, the company introduced its first EV electric car, which went on sale in European markets in 2010.
In 2008, the Fortwo was 10 years old and its total sales reached 900 thousand copies. Also, the company entered the markets of America. And since 2009, Smart has been releasing a new generation of this car with an updated interior and an expanded list of options.
In 2010, the second generation Smart Fortwo has been upgraded. This is the version that became the first to be officially sold in Russia. Prior to that, deliveries of cars of the brand to the Russian market were carried out by small firms that are not official dealers of Smart.
The car was presented in two versions: with an atmospheric 71-horsepower and turbocharged 84-horsepower motor. Both power units have three cylinders and 1 liter of volume, and are paired with a robotized manual transmission.
The third generation of the Smart Fortwo was introduced by the automaker in 2014. This car differs significantly from its predecessor both technically and in appearance. It shares the platform with the Renault Twingo. No matter how much the engineers tried to keep the dimensions of the car, it still grew a little: by 8 mm in length and 10 mm in width.
Due to the increased rear overhang, the volume of the trunk, which now is 260 liters vs. 230 liters of its predecessor, is increased. The car also got a more rigid suspension and shock absorbers. As standard, it offers a system of lateral wind control, which regulates the braking of the right wheel to prevent tipping
Now, in 2015, Smart is sold in 46 countries in Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia, and Europe. At the beginning of 2015, total sales of the brand's cars exceeded 1.7 million units. The main buyers of Smart remain people who can afford to buy 2-3 cars and prefer to overcome the difficulties of urban traffic in a comfortable and stylish car created by one of the leaders in the automotive industry. Do not forget to use Smart VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.
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