• Jun 30, 2010
Nicholas Hayek passed away on Monday, June 28

The man responsible for the Smart Car has reportedly passed away at the age of 82 of heart failure. Nicholas Hayek was a savvy businessman who wanted to apply the success he had experienced in the watchmaking world to car universe. Hayek brought affordability to the Swiss watch market with his Swatch products, and envisioned an automobile that would be just as customizable and affordable as his then wildly popular time pieces. What would eventually become the Smart Car was originally a joint venture with Volkswagen that flew under the Swatchmobile banner.

But the VW partnership eventually hit the rocks, and Mercedes-Benz stepped in to lend a hand. Oddly enough, Hayek left the Smart Car program after Mercedes-Benz balked at his ideas for a diesel-hybrid model. Now Smart is launching its all-electric ForTwo ED.

While the Smart portfolio hasn't exactly taken the world by storm – or made money for its owners – there's no denying its impact. Nearly everyone knows what the quirky little cars are, even if they've never driven one. Hayek's brief time in the automotive spectrum had a lasting effect that will likely continue on for years to come.

[Source: The New York Times]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, I still have some Swatch watches in a drawer at home. They were inexpensive but reliable, with decent (three-year) battery life. I can remember when the Smart was going to be the Swatch car, with Swatch-like features like being able to put on different-colored bumper covers. It didn't quite end up that way.
        • 4 Years Ago
        When I was in high school, I found a funky Swatch watch on a table at a mall food court. It was pretty beat up, and obviously at least a year old. In fact, the band was broken, but I didn't care.

        I had to throw that sucker across the room the first night I had it at home, it was so loud.

        TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK

        It lasted all through high school, and I only threw it away because it just wasn't worth getting a new band for. Before I took the garbage out the next day, I could still hear it ticking.

        Edgar Allen Poe wrote about a Swatch he had, if I'm not mistaken...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, looking like one them Casino GShocks watch. That would make a crazy car for sure.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Except you can switch out the colours on a smart car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      a true genius. our country will miss him big time. r.i.p.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, loving it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So the New York job didn't pan out for you?...I'm sorry. Your work is good.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not really, I'll work for him (remotely) on a project basis starting in September 2010.
        • 4 Years Ago
        see lower comment
      • 4 Years Ago
      I heard his time ran out!

      Sorry I had to be the first to say it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Based on the photo he probably should have taken better care of his own body's ticker =(
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thanks for reviving the Swiss watch industry and giving us the Swatch and the Smart. RIP
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good luck with it. Just make sure you get your ducks in a row. I know you've been burned before with deadbeat clients.
      Alex
      • 4 Years Ago
      RIP Mr. Hayek

      He was single-handedly responsible from saving the Swiss Watch industry. I have many Swatches from the 80's and they all are working perfectly fine.

      They are the best and inexpensive swiss made movement watches available. G-Shocks are cool looking but their quality and lifespans are nothing compared to Swatch watches.

      Too bad Smart has not evolved into the brand that it should be today: trendy and personalized by the user.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @Alex
        Nick are you still living in Manhattan Beach?
        Alex
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Alex
        @Nick

        So you basically broke your watches if you pulled the straps...odd. That has nothing to do with the quality of the watches.

        Sucks that you broke them - they tend to have collectors value and now that Hayek is dead...who knows.
      • 4 Years Ago
      wow. hayek was one of my idols (resurrecting the breguet watch brand --
      • 4 Years Ago
      RIP.
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