Smart was started by the makers of Swatch watches, SMH, in the latter part of the 1980s and formed an alliance with Volkswagen (VW) in 1991. The alliance with VW ended and after being rejected by other automakers Smart began an alliance with Daimler-Benz AG. Daimler-Benz AG increased its shares in Smart in several phases and Smart became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1999.
Smart were imported to the US by independent importers until 2008 when Penske Automotive Group became the official distribution channel. The distribution was taken over by Mercedes-Benz USA in middle of 2011. Smart produces ultra-compact cars and had multiple models earlier. The current lineup is the Smart fortwo model.