It’s a bit difficult to remember just how radical Smart was when it first popped up back in 1998 – and astonishing to think that the brand has already been with us for 20 years. 

Measuring barely more than two and a half metres in length, the compact two-seater fitted crossways into parking spaces and established a whole new class of its own, challenging the received wisdom on urban transport and provoking fresh thinking on city mobility. 

The new car was unveiled back in 1997 at the Frankfurt motor show, with production beginning in July 1998. Since then the car has caught the imagination worldwide, with 2.2 million Smarts sold to date. Thanks to its technical innovations and a design that combined functionality with joie de vivre, the Smart became a cult car. 

‘Ever since it was established, Smart has been a pioneer of the automobile industry on all fronts: from the revolutionary vehicle concept through the trailblazing plant architecture in Hambach to the latest development – the brand's focus on all-electric drive systems,’ said long-standing Smart boss Annette Winkler recently to mark the brand’s birthday. ’20 years of Smart – first and foremost, this is the success story of our team and dealers, who have put their expertise, creativity and dedication into improving the quality of life in the city.’

Click on the next button above to see our slideshow marking 20 years of Smart cars. 

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