Mercedes-Benz is a German luxury brand well-known for making some of the most incredible and luxurious cars on the market. Still, Mercedes-Benz is owned by another company. That company is Daimler AG, and Mercedes-Benz is not the only car company Daimler AG owns. Here’s a look at Smart, the car brand owned by the owners of Mercedes-Benz.
A short history of Smart
Mercedes-Benz logo | Getty Images
According to Consumer Reports, Daimler AG owns two car companies, Mercedes-Benz and Smart. The idea behind Smart is very different from Mercedes-Benz. A Mercedes is stereotypically expensive and highly luxurious. A Smart car is supposed to be affordable and small.
For example, one of the most popular Smart models was the Fortwo, a small car that, as its name implied, could only seat two people. Largely thanks to its small size, the Fortwo was cheap, as it started at about $16,000, and it was also efficient, as it got about 36 mpg. Those specs made the Fortwo a completely different car from what Mercedes-Benz usually produces.
Unfortunately for Daimler AG, while Americans liked Mercedes-Benz, Smart cars never caught on. They were introduced into the American market in 2008, and Smart made moves to improve its cars, as it even introduced EV models a few years later. These moves didn’t add up to sales, so in 2019, Daimler AG pulled Smart out of the U.S. and Canadian markets. That said, Smart is still producing cars, and they’re very popular, especially in China.
Daimler has a long history in the car business besides being the owner of Mercedes-Benz
That move from Daimler AG isn’t the first time the German auto giant abandoned the American market. Daimler AG has been around for over 100 years, but the company officially got started in 1926. The German company has been producing cars almost since it was founded, and one of Daimler AG’s big shake-ups happened in 1998 when Daimler AG bought Chrysler.
At around the same time, Daimler AG created a new automaker, Smart, and the first Smart car debuted in 1998. Daimler AG then spent the next few years bringing the Smart brand into new markets. While things were looking up for Smart, the same can’t be said for Chrysler. In fact, that deal did not last even a decade, as the German company divested Chrysler in 2007.
Things got worse as Chrysler went on to merge with other European automakers to form Stellantis, and Daimler AG pulled Smart from several markets due to low sales. That being said, in 2019, Geely, a Chinese automaker, partnered up with Daimler AG and became co-owner of the Smart brand. Thanks to this deal, there is now a Smart factory in China, creating many Smart cars for the Chinese market.
What the future of Mercedes-Benz will look like
While Daimler AG may not have succeeded as much as they wanted with Smart and Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz continues to be a successful and popular automaker. The future of Mercedes-Benz is bright, as just like many other automakers, Mercedes-Benz is making a move to an electric future.
For example, the Mercedes-Benz EQB is a compact electric SUV, and it made its debut in America in the summer of 2022. It has about 260 miles of range and excellent driving dynamics, and just like any other Mercedes, it’s very luxurious inside. However, those features won’t come cheap, as the EQB starts at over $50,000.