Part of what makes the economical Smart cars so interesting is the “tridon” safety design. This feature provided rigidity and stability in the event the small car collides with a larger vehicle – thus ensuring a safe driving experience. This design is further reinforced with side steel impact door beams and a reinforced axle system.
Eventually Daimler-Benz purchased the remaining stock from Swatch and the Smart car was first released to the world in 1998. The Smart car was an immediate hit and in 2003 Smart expanded its lineup to include a roadster and a coupe, and in 2004, a sedan. Unfortunately, these decisions were met with lukewarm reception and concern over their price point. Smart was designated to be sold off from Daimler-Benz during the recent financial woes, but was saved by the CEO of the company and the business model redesigned.
In 2006 Smart unveiled the Fortwo (the re-designed City-Coupe) in 36 countries. The redesigned Fortwo featured several changes, including a revised interior, transmission, and increased safety. Most importantly, starting in 2006 Smart cars are now available in the United States. Going forward it’s difficult to say how Smart cars will be received by American buyers, but will rising fuel costs and an increased emphasis fuel economy and safety the future looks bright for Smart.