Smart can trace its roots back to the year 1991 when the CEO of SMH (the parent company of Swiss watch making brand Swatch), Nicolas Hayek, signed an agreement with Volkswagen to collaborate on the creation and manufacturing of a highly-customizable, style-oriented two-seater city car. However, the deal fell through after some top level management changes within VW took place (the company had its own plans to make a similar efficient city car) and Hayek went back to searching for another partner - after being turned down by BMW, GM, Fiat and Renault, a deal was established with Daimler-Benz (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) in 1994. The first Smart ForTwo (back then known as the Smart City-Coupe or City-Cabrio) burst onto the scene in 1998 and the rest, as they say, is history. Since it was launched that year, almost two million ForTwo models have been sold globally (Smart is present in 46 different markets) at a steady rate of around 100,000 units per year. After the initial model established itself on the market (there was nothing else like it available initially), Smart also launched the Smart Roadster (available as a Coupe or Cabrio), a lower and sportier model with a low center of gravity and good handling (which was phased out and it didn't get a second generation). The current crop of models (the Fortwo and Forfour) was created as a joint effort between Smart and Renault - both models are almost identical to the Renault Twingo from a mechanical standpoint.