The coronavirus crisis is changing Mercedes’ plans. The German premium brand has announced plans to sale or close the smart plant in Hambach, France, where the current generation smart EQ fortwo and EQ fortwo cabriolet are produced.
Mercedes has announced plans to shut down the smart plant in Hambach as part of measures to cut costs and adapt production to declining demand.
Mercedes’ announcement is surprising because the Germans had announced in 2018 that they will invest 500 million euros to transform this plant and build the future Mercedes EQA together with the smart range.
But last year, Mercedes sold 50% of the smart brand to Geely and the production of the next generation of smart will move to China according to the agreement reached between the two companies.
Mercedes has already outlined plans for the EQ electric range to be produced at the Bremen, Sindelfingen and Rastatt plants. As Bremen is a factory dedicated to GLC and C-Class and Sindelfingen is focused on luxury sedans, most likely the production of the future compact electric SUV Mercedes EQA will be moved to Rastatt where other compact models are produced.
But what will happen in the near future with the Hambach plant? According to the agreement with Geely, the smart electric models EQ fortwo and EQ fortwo cabrio will be produced by Mercedes until the end of the life cycle.
But now it is not clear whether Mercedes will operate the plant until the production of the current smart generation is completed or if it finds a buyer it will produce the current smart models under contract.
The Hambach plant known as Smartville was inaugurated in 1997 and is specially designed for the new smart brand. There are currently 1,600 employees working here.