French Smart plant to build electric Mercs

By Graeme Roberts | 18 May 2018

Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its capacities for electric cars in Europe by using the Smart Hambach plant in France to produce a compact electric car for the EQ brand.

M-B plans to launch 10 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% of total sales by 2025. From 2020, Smart will offer only electric vehicles making it the first automotive brand to change completely 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 EUR500m in the Hambach plant and in the product," Mercedes said.

Two electric vehicles, the Fortwo coupe and the Fortwo cabrio, are currently produced in France.

"The Smart plant will become a part of our global compact car production network with the lead plant Rastatt, Germany," said production and supply chief Markus Schaefer. Other plants are Kecskemét, Hungary, the BBAC production site in Beijing, the COMPAS plant in Aguascalientes (Mexico) and contract assembler Valmet Automotive in Finland.

EUR500m will be spent on construction of new facilities, a new body shop and a new surface treatment plant. The plant will also expand assembly and reshape infrastructure.