25 years smart: the iconic car brand reinvents itself with a clear commitment to sustainable mobility

  • In 1998, smart made history with the market launch of the first fortwo model. 
  • 25 years later, the renewed brand is launching its compact, all-electric premium SUV smart #1 across Europe. 
  • smart is celebrating its anniversary with a coffee table book sharing the milestone moments of the brand and a Europe-wide touring exhibition premiering at the IAA in September. 

17 July 2023, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany. More than 9,000 days of smart and on the occasion of its 25th anniversary the pioneering brand looks back on numerous milestones of a colorful career in the automobile industry. From fearlessly rethinking urban mobility solutions with its practical city cars to answering contemporary mobility needs with its new smart generation of all-electric compact premium SUVs, the brand has made its mark with innovative and unique products, and with this year’s market launches of the all-new smart #1* in 13 European countries, smart continues to write its history with a clear commitment to electric drive, remaining the zeitgeist seismograph it always was.  

It has always been the core of smart to surprise with unconventional concepts that provide an answer to urban mobility challenges,” says Dirk Adelmann, CEO smart Europe GmbH. “With our new generation of vehicles, we carry on a matured notion of the smart spirit from the past 25 years. Today, smart stands for a focus on pure electric and comprehensive connectivity solutions to enable the urban lifestyle of tomorrow.” 

1998 - 2023: setting the tone for future mobility 

Way ahead of its time, the first concept of an extremely compact car was developed by Mercedes-Benz in 1972 in response to increasing congestion in cities as well as intensifying air pollution. After a period of further small car concepts like the “Nahverkehrsfahrzeug”, short NAFA, in 1981 and an all-changing partnership between Daimler and Swatch group founder Nicolas Hayek, the idea became a reality and changed the face of urban mobility forever: in 1998, the first fortwo city coupé model of the new smart brand rolled off the production line. Starting with this out-of-the-ordinary idea, smart has offered a diverse range of extraordinary vehicles over the past 25 years, including the smart forfour, smart crossblade and smart roadster. 

With smart eventually being the first car manufacturer to completely transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to BEVs in 2019, the development of the smart fortwo electric drive was another groundbreaking milestone in the brand’s history. As early as in 2007, 100 electric prototypes of the fully electric fortwo were tested on the streets of London. One year later, the first customer cars were delivered to pave the way for the electric future on an international scale.​ A forward-looking sustainable mobility story, of which a new chapter was opened with the world premiere of the all-new smart #1 in 2022, the first product from a whole family of intelligent, fully electric premium vehicles that are to follow. 

smart’s unique brand and its exhilarating evolution have been made possible by personalities with a dedicated vision, coming together to co-create—not only for a truly special car, but for the creation of new mobility culture. Creatives like Jeremy Scott and Freddy Reitz established smart’s reputation as a connector between like-minded people with an optimistic view of the future. A legacy that will also be continued in the new brand architecture of Mercedes-Benz and Geely Automotive: this year, the internationally renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister will create six artworks exclusively for smart, which will be featured in an exclusive coffee table book as well as a touring exhibition.  


smart celebrates with exclusive coffee table book, a touring exhibition and a fan event 

Published on the occasion of the 25-year brand anniversary, the coffee table book “Always unconventional” recalls the brand’s milestone moments and inspires its readers with visionary stories, art and extraordinary images. By launching this exceptional collector’s piece, smart enables an immersion into the unconventional world of smart with all its products, people and untold stories. The coffee table book will be presented to the European public for the first time at the IAA (September 5-10) in Munich, where visitors will also be able to take a peek at a completely new limited 25-year-anniversary-edition vehicle. 

Another highlight of the anniversary year is the premiere of a touring exhibition that will make stops in various European countries following its initial presentation at the IAA. In the exhibition, visitors can trace the brand’s history from the first concept cars to the present day. 

To round off the celebrations, smart is inviting its loyal community of brand enthusiasts to a new edition of the well-established “smart times” event, which was first held in 2001. The record for the highest number of attendees was set in 2016, when over 3.000 smart fans and companions came together in Hamburg.  

Further information about the anniversary edition, the touring exhibition, and smart times 2023 will follow soon. Stay updated on media.smart.com. 


*Combined electricity consumption in kWh/100 km: --- (NEDC) / 18,2 (BRABUS), 16,8 (Premium), 17,4 (Pro+) (WLTP); Combined CO2 emissions in
g/km: 0 ; Electric range (WLTP) in km: 400 (BRABUS), 440 (Premium), 420 (Pro+).
** The manufacturer of the smart fortwo, which is still in production, is Mercedes-Benz AG and not smart Europe or smart


Press contact:

Lisa Trittler
Email: eu.communications@smart.com