Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars hardly need introducing. As there is no shortage of articles about them in the press, I thought I’d rather tell you a little about the smallest car the Group produces instead.

Did you know in fact that the idea of the Smart first originated in the 80s? Several universities were working on the idea of a mini car. The idea was being marketed by Nicolas G. Hayek, founder of the Swatch Group. He wanted a Swatch car (comparable to Swatch watches), one that was not only efficient and cheap to run but also one that had interchangeable body parts. At that, he wanted it designed in such a way that, in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn, the car could be brought onto trains, like “hand luggage” so to speak...

The current petrol Smart by Daimler-Benz no longer has anything in common with the plans of the former Swatch teams.

Mercedes-Benz factories

In spite of the drop in turnover (28 053 registrations in 2012), the Smart is still being manufactured in Germany.

Of the nine Mercedes-Benz factories in Germany, the plant in Hamburg has taken over part of the production. It is here that the axles, steering columns and other system elements for nearly all the Mercedes-Benz models are produced.

The project itself

This project entailed moving the axle production lines for the Smart car from the District of Harburg to the District of Neu Wulmstorf. The contract value was about € 250,000. -.

Convoi was tasked with:

  • Preparing the Harburg site by organising external stores, preventing a standstill in production by ensuring that there were sufficient stocks
  • Measuring the equipment
  • The initial dismantling of a large machining centre owned by the company Vogtland (with individual items weighing up to 30 ton)
  • Reprogramming the front axle control technology with external help
  • Disassembling the front and back axle production lines, including the steel constructions
  • Loading the parts
  • Transporting the parts to Neu Wulmstorf


The machining centre of the company Vogtland was reassembled in Neu Wulmstorf, as were the front and back axle production lines. As the length of these lines had to be reduced by 12 metres, mechanical and electric components had to be shortened.

Convoi furthermore double-checked the safety inspections by the companies Sick and TÜV Noord. In conjunction with authorised partners, Convoi moreover ensured the integration of the control circuits into the Daimler operating system. Not only was the factory commissioned on time but Convoi was also on site to provide the necessary support when production was launched.