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Jul 1, 2010
With great grief smart received the news about the death of entrepreneur Nicolas G. Hayek. With his idea for a visionary small car he had a considerable share in introducing the revolutionary smart on the market in 1998. Hayek died the day before yesterday aged 82 in Biel/Switzerland.
Marc Langenbrinck, Managing Director smart brand and Head of Sales & Marketing at smart says "With Nicolas G. Hayek we lose a pioneer who provided inspiration for the smart product and brand with his vision of sustainable mobility. His intuition for trends and his great idea laid the essential foundations for the development of the smart fortwo and he will remain inseparable from the success of the brand."
Nicolas G. Hayek's idea had a decisive influence on the development of the smart. In 1989 Nicolas G. Hayek, the inventor of the Swatch watch, announced plans to launch a small city car on the market. The car of the future should appeal to people as a statement rather than a status symbol. Hayek then sought an experienced partner for the quick and successful realisation of the project. The combination of Mercedes-Benz's vast experience in building cars coupled with Swatch's creative powers brought together two ideal partners for this project. The cooperation resulted in a unique vehicle concept and a new automobile brand: smart.
Shortly after initial negotiations between Mercedes-Benz and Nicolas G. Hayek, Micro Compact Car AG is founded. The company headquarters were in Biel, Switzerland. Following the start of development in 1994, in 1997 the smart city coupé (later renamed smart fortwo ) celebrated its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Production began in July 1998 in a specially constructed plant in Hambach, France. Sales started the following October. The same year Nicolas G. Hayek sold his shares in Micro Compact Car AG. smart became a 100 per cent subsidiary of Daimler-Benz AG (now Daimler AG).
Nicolas G. Hayek's basic idea has been uncompromisingly continued in the smart fortwo which has stood for environmental friendliness and state-of-the-art functionality since it was launched more than ten years ago. Ever since then its innovative and unique concept has combined sustainable, forward-looking technologies with individual urban mobility. The extremely compact vehicle with a length of just over two and a half metres brings its occupants to their destination comfortably, safely and economically. It is not least the independent shape and design idiom that have made the car an automotive lifestyle icon which shows that mobility, responsibility towards the environment, and joie de vivre can go hand in hand with one another. The smart fortwo has established a class of its own. With the smart electric drive, which is already being produced in the second generation and will go on general sale in 2012, smart is underlining its pioneering role on the way to individual mobility with no local emissions in cities and global population centres.