Originally set up as a joint venture by Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, by the time the first Smart Fortwo appeared in 1998, Volkswagen had bailed out. It probably made the right move, as while the Smart has always been something of a technical marvel, Mercedes has never made a profit out of it.

At least Mercedes stuck with the Smart Fortwo though, launching a second-generation edition in 2007. When it tried to create a four-seater family car with the Smart Forfour, plus a two-seater sportscar in the shape of the Roadster-Coupé, production of both cars was quickly wound up.