Started as a joint venture between Daimler-Benz and Swiss watchmaker Swatch, smart builds diminutive vehicles for people who put a premium on fuel economy and parking ease. Its fortwo is in a class by itself here in America, and measures almost 3½ feet shorter than the next smallest car, the MINI Cooper. Daimler-Benz bought out Swatch just as the smart started to generate hype around the world. In 2008 smart expanded its operations into the United States, where rising gas prices had changed how Americans view transportation. Smart is a member of the Mercedes Car Group.