The smart fortwo is manufactured at Smartville, a purpose-built factory complex in Hambach, 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 smart Roadster. Chrysler plans to send the Brand into the United States but it may not be in full production until 2007.
The fortwo is the original smart model that was launched in 1998 as City Coupe. The name fortwo was introduced when smart began to produce new models. The car is intended primarily for urban use, and is one of the lightest cars in the European market with a weight of 730 kg due to its reinforced steel shell with plastic body panels. The smart fortwo's length of only 2.500 mm means that two smarts can share a parking bay. The fortwo is available with a convertible version (originally City Cabrio, now fortwo Cabrio), introduced in 2000, and was restyled in 2002. Curiously, the smart fortwo has its engine positioned at the rear of the vehicle.
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