Mercedes-Benz is looking to streamline its global production network as part of a transformation plan for the carmaker towards CO2-neutral mobility, which will also see the electrification of its product range and digitalisation of vehicles and company processes.

To support these efforts, the company has announced that it is looking to start talks on the sale of its car assembly plant in Hambach, France. The facility first began operations on October 27, 1997 and has been producing the fourth generation of smart electric vehicles, including the EQ fortwo and EQ fortwo Cabrio, since 2019. To date, the Hambach plant employs about 1,600 employees and has produced more than 2.2 million fortwo vehicles.

“We continue to drive the transformation of our company and our products forward with all due speed. In light of future high investments, especially in electrification and digitalization, we are consistently implementing measures to increase efficiency,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.

“This affects all areas of the company worldwide. In addition, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy are creating new framework conditions in the market and in this context we are optimizing our global production network. That is why we intend to start talks on the sale of the Hambach plant,” he added.

This realignment will see the next generation of smart electric vehicles be produced by smart Automobile, which is a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding). However, the operations at the Hambach facility will continue for the foreseeable future.

“The transformation to the CO2-neutral mobility of the future also requires changes in our global production network. In this phase of economic challenge, we are balancing demand and capacity and we are now adjusting our production network,” commented Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.

“These changes also affect the Hambach plant. An important goal for us is to secure the future of the location. Another condition: The current smart models will continue to be produced in Hambach,” he continued.