Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its capacities for electric cars in Europe. The Hambach plant in France will produce a compact electric car of the new product and technology brand EQ.
“20 years ago we started an exemplary German-Franco project with the production of the smart in Hambach. Now we take the next step and for the first time in our more than 100-year old history we bring the production of Mercedes-Benz to France. With the compact EQ model from Hambach we continue our electric initiative,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars after a meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris.
Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch more than ten electric cars by 2022: throughout all segments, from smart to large SUVs. The company assumes that unit sales of electric models will represent a share of somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of total Mercedes-Benz sales by 2025. From 2020, the brand smart will only offer electric vehicles. Thereby, smart will be the first automotive brand of the world, which completely changes from combustion engines to electric drives.
“The Hambach site in France features many years of experience in building fully electric cars. We want to take advantage of the enormous expertise and prepare the plant for the production of an electric Mercedes-Benz. We are investing a total of around 500 million euros in the Hambach plant and in the product. It is now paying off for our employees that they already contributed to a significant improvement in the competitiveness of the Hambach site two years ago with the ‘Pacte 2020’”, says Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. The ‘Pacte 2020’, which was adjusted with the workforce in 2016, includes an increase in working hours from 35 to 39 hours and a salary adjustment.
With the smart location in Hambach, Mercedes-Benz Cars has a longstanding competence centre for the production of electric vehicles: Already in 2007 smart launched a battery-powered vehicle as a pioneer in e-mobility and has been producing electric smarts in series since 2012. Two electric vehicles, the smart EQ fortwo coupé and the smart EQ fortwo cabrio, are currently being produced there. In Germany the smart brand is the market leader among all-electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2018. The smart plant in Hambach already obtains all its electrical energy from renewable energy sources and is therefore CO2-neutral.
“With the production of a compact electric car in Hambach, we are adding further capacities for our electric initiative at six locations on three continents. The smart plant in Hambach will become a part of our global compact car production network with the lead plant Rastatt, Germany”, says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain. The production network of the new generation of compact cars includes the plant in Kecskemét, Hungary, the BBAC production site in Beijing, the COMPAS plant in Aguascalientes (Mexico) as well as the Finnish manufacturing service provider Valmet Automotive.
The preparations for the new model in Hambach will start shortly. The investment of around 500 million euros will be spend for the construction of new facilities and also flow in the product itself: With state-of-the-art technology a new body shop and surface treatment will be build. The plant will also expand the assembly facilities and reshape the site’s infrastructure.
“We at the smart plant in Hambach are looking forward to producing the first Mercedes-Benz model. Our new assignment proves the outstanding expertise at the location and the high motivation of our employees,” says Serge Siebert, Site Manager of the smart plant in Hambach.