On the road to CO2 neutrality, Mercedes-Benz AG is investing heavily in the transformation of the company. In the context of increasing efficiency, this also includes the structural adjustment and realignment of production capacity and volume within the Mercedes-Benz Cars global production network. Against this background, Mercedes-Benz AG and INEOS Automotive have signed corresponding agreements for the sale of the Hambach plant. INEOS Automotive acquires all shares in smart France S.A.S. and will take over the Hambach plant in the coming weeks after the final details have been clarified. Based on the negotiations regarding the future of employees and continuation of production at the Hambach plant, no significant negative effects are expected in the fourth quarter of 2020, which weigh on the earnings of Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans. The common goal of Mercedes-Benz AG, INEOS Automotive, employee and government representatives was to secure employment at the facility. Production of the current two-seat smart EQ electric vehicles continues at the Hambach plant.
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Daimler Group Research and COO Mercedes-Benz Cars: “We are in the midst of a major transformation of our company and aim to successfully shape it for the future. To this end we are investing heavily in our electric offensive and comprehensive digitalization. In doing so, we must make the company even more efficient and, in this respect, the optimization of our global production network is a very decisive lever. The sale of our Hambach plant is therefore an important step in this direction. For us the focus was on implementing this sale in a socially responsible manner and securing jobs. Together with social partners, government representatives and the buyer, INEOS Automotive, we have found a viable solution for Hambach that offers the facility clear prospects for the future.”
Talks with social partners and government representatives were decisive in ensuring that a timely solution could be found, which was confirmed by the local social and economic committee with a favorable opinion when the consultation process was completed. The committee represents the interests of the company’s employees.
Thanks to the constructive cooperation of all parties involved, a key negotiating goal was achieved: Securing jobs at smart France S.A.S. and those of system suppliers at the facility who accepted job offers. In total that represents about 1,300 employees.
Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for production and supply chain management: “The Hambach plant was part of the Mercedes-Benz Cars global production network for more than 20 years. The highly competent team has successfully mastered many vehicle launches and stands for experience and quality. I am therefore all the more pleased that we have found a buyer in INEOS Automotive who will lead the Hambach plant into the future. By realigning and relocating capacity within our global production network, we are increasing the production efficiency of Mercedes-Benz AG on a sustainable basis. In selling the Hambach plant, our goals were to continue production of the current electric smart models and to secure employment at the facility. We achieved both goals. My thanks and best wishes go to the employees at Hambach, who, with their know-how and commitment, contributed to the success of Mercedes-Benz and smart for many years and will now continue to produce top-quality vehicles with a new owner. “
As part of the sales process for the Hambach plant, Mercedes-Benz AG and INEOS Automotive were also in close contact with representatives of the French government as well as the regional and local authorities who actively accompanied the process.
About the Hambach plant
On October 27, 1997, then French President Jacques Chirac and Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl dedicated the Hambach, Lorraine production plant in France. Production began in 1998 with the first smart fortwo. In 2012, the Hambach plant was the first in Europe to launch series production of vehicles with electric drives in parallel with conventional models with combustion engines. Since 2019 the plant has been producing with the smart EQ fortwo and the smart EQ fortwo Cabrio the fourth generation of smart electric vehicles. To date, more than two million smart fortwo have rolled off the production line in Hambach.