The smart car was concieved by the head of Swatch, the watch company.
Swatch initially joined with Volkswagen in 1991, but the project was cancelled. Mercedes then stepped in as a partner and Micro Compact Car (MCC) was formed in 1994 as a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Swatch. In 1998 Swatch pulled out and the MCC brand brand became wholy part of DaimlerChrysler.
The smart car is built at a factory complex called smartville, located at Hambach in Lorraine, France.
The construction of the car a franchise/partnership of companies, there are 3 or 4 large suppliers of parts on-site at Hambach. Less than half of smartville's workforce are on the MCC payroll.
Assembly time for a smart four-two coupe is four and a half hours.
So yes MCC is owned by Mercedes, but it wasn't designed or strictly built by them.
I've seen a Nissan 300ZX done up like a Ferrari with the badges:tut: as well parked up at the Newark Autojumble last November. To my recollection someone on here posted a thread about it roughly a month ago because it was for sale on Ebay.