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If you have ever been to a foreign country like Japan or Europe then you will notice just how different things are from the United States. The food alone is enough to surprise me and take it from someone with experience when I tell you to never try anything without knowing what it is first.

But nothing is more different and surprises us more than the cars that they drive. Many of the cars driven in Japan, Germany, and many other countries are considerably smaller. Their idea of a van would be our idea of a small – but tall car. Everything they drive is very small – but surprisingly they are not lacking any of the necessary features and power that we love.

Probably one of the greatest examples of the types of cars that you can find in these places is the famous Smart car. This unusually small car was built in 1993 by Daimler-Benz and the Swiss watchmaker – Swatch. Together the two companies began a joint venture known as the Micro Compact Car AG – which was located in Switzerland. These cars were built with the engineering and quality we know of Mercedes – but with the unusual design from Swatch.

Combine these two together and they created what was simply known as the Smart City-Coupe – which was created for the European urban public. Not only were they created to allow for better parking – but also to improve gas mileage.

In order to keep this extraordinary tiny car safe they built it with a “tridion” safety cell so that it could handle being hit by larger cars. The cell was produced with three layers of reinforced steel and was able to absorb the impact during a crash and to protect anyone inside.

It did not take long for people to become impressed with the Smart and soon it became a worldwide phenomenon. By 2003 more and more models of the smart were created and being sold not only in Europe – but also 36 other countries. You may even get a chance to see a few driving around in the United States. What with the economy the way it is people are finding the saving in gas an amazing deal for them.

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