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The original Smart car, which is short for Swatch Mercedes ART, was based on the idea of a vehicle capable of fitting length-wise in a parking space. The goal of this new automobile design was to make parking easier within Europe?s narrow parking slots. Swatch originally approached Volkswagen with the concept but the partnership never reached fruition. They ended up teaming up with Daimler-Benz, owner of Mercedes-Benz, in a joint venture. The result in 1994 was a new company called Micro Compact AG to manufacture the microcars. Later, the name Micro was changed to Smart GmbH. Before its separation Swatch DaimlerChrysler formed as a partnership between American automaker Chrysler and Daimler-Benz and announced that it would sell the smart car in the US beginning in 2008 through the Penske Automotive Group. Smart USA received over 30,000 in preorders before the subcompact car went on sale in January 2008, selling out its inventory for the year.

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JC Whitney - Everything Automotive