Even before the First World War has been attempted to promote a greater spread of motor vehicles by the construction of cheaper small cars. Between the wars DKW made furore with plywood coated with leather and two-stroke engines. After the Second World War was shortly after the ebbing away od the two-wheeler boom a small time window but ultimately could not be used by no manufacturer permanently. Only one design could hold its ground with disruption more than forty years and now lives in distinctly different shape continues, the Mini from 1959.
Famous are the attempts of just a luxury class manufacturer to met the future requirements of large cities by offering smaller vehicles and thus to come into the focus of younger buyers. The losses for the Group are estimated to several billion until the second model generation of the Smart. Nicolas Hayek, producer of popular Swatch watches has put the idea in the heads of the managers of Mercedes end of 1992, after he was rebuffed at VW. After all, there was already the Eco-Speedster or Eco Sprinter, so that one could show prototypes to Hayek.
However, the start of series production was a debacle. It had to be postponed because of excessive risk of tipping and could take place at all in principle only by the quickly in a result ending ESP development (Bosch). Cooperation with Hayek was stopped earlier. Advertising professionals have difficulties to sell a car at the same time to students and S-class owners. The mistakes of others car managers fade in the face of Mercedes-Benz in this field. After all, the Group can ultimately absorb the losses.
Make others it better? VW brings the doublet Lupo and Audi A2 as 3-liter cars, the latter even superior the diesel Smart in consumption despite four-seater model. But somehow, the price is not okay, although VW still contributes money. And once again the marketing failed completely. But also the of the Smart has quirks. One has forgotten that it is planned to offer this car as a short-term rental car and simultaneously is one of the largest producers of taxis. After all, it's good for fleet consumption. For that reason it will not disappear.
Smart mostly against Mercedes and uses its crumple zone.