Next milestone in the plant history: the smart Hambach plant produced the 1.5 millionth smart fortwo.
The milestone vehicle, a white smart forwo electric drive cabrio, rolled off the production line before the beginning of the extended summer break: production will be paused for almost two months in July and August, as massive efforts are being taken to prepare the plant optimally for future production requirements with the renewal of large parts of the production installations.
“1.5 million smart fortwo vehicles underline the uniquely compact smart’s success as city car. It inspires drivers in more and more metropolitan areas around the world, because no other car is so perfectly adapted to urban driving. And with traffic and parking becoming increasingly challenging in these areas, many more smart will follow, “ said Dr. Annette Winkler, head of smart. “Powered by combustion engine or increasingly with fully-electric drive train, as private and fleet vehicle and also as tailored car for mobility concepts like car2go, the smart meets a worldwide demand. As of 2014, we will additionally offer our customers an entirely newly developed four-seated urban mobility car again.”
“The entire workforce of the Hambach plant is proud to have put 1.5 million smart fortwo vehicles on the road,” said Dr. Joachim Betker, head of the smart Hambach plant. “Our unique location concept, our qualified and highly motivated workforce as well as our high production quality largely contribute to this success.”
Just recently, smart took the prime spot in the ‘City Car’ segment of this year’s IQS (‘Initial quality study) ranking published by the renowned market research institute J.D. Power. This study is based on feedback from U.S. owners regarding the quality of their new vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership.
Plant sets course for the future
The massive construction works in the extended summer break mark the largest upgrade which the plant has seen since the start of production in 1998 – among others, a large part of the assembly installations are completely renewed. The new installations, which bring state-of-the-art production technology to the plant, lead to many improvements for flexible processes in various areas of production.
Investment for these upgrades is part of the significant overall investments of more than EUR 200 million for the expansion and modification of the plant plus preparatory measures for the successor series to the current smart, which at the same time secure the plant’s future. One of the largest individual projects with a total investment of more than €50 million is the new paint shop where an environmentally-friendly liquid painting process that meets the current Daimler Group standard for passenger car plants replaced the previous powder painting process. The new paint shop greatly expands the variety of paint colours that can be realised, which means that in future smart customers will also be able to choose the colour of the tridion safety cell of their smart from all available paint finishes.