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Mercedes-Benz to upgrade smart plant

Mercedes-Benz aims to increase EV production in France

Mercedes-Benz will produce an electric compact car after its parent company, Daimler-Benz, makes an investment of 500 million euros (US$585 million) in its French production plant.

The Hambach plant, in the northeast of France, near the border of Germany, will produce the car as part of the company’s electric EQ brand. The plant, dubbed Smartville, was created to produce smart cars.

The investment will be used to build new facilities. The plant will receive a state-of-the-art body shop and surface treatment will also be built. The plant will also expand the assembly facilities and reshape the site’s infrastructure.

“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,” said Dr Annette Winkler, head of smart, co-owner of the Hambach plant, alongside Daimler-Benz.

The plant is currently producing two electric vehicles, the smart EQ fortwo coupé and the smart EQ fortwo cabrio.

“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,” said member of the divisional board of management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, production and supply chain Markus Schäfer.

Chairman of Daimler’s board of management and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dr Dieter Zetsche said that the move would continue the company’s electric initiative.

Mercedes-Benz aims to launch more than 10 electric cars by 2022, with EV sales account for 15-25% of Mercedes-Benz’s sales by 2025. These will include a number of different models, such as the SUV or saloon Mercedes-Benz previously announced.

The company’s smart car range will be fully converted to EVs by 2020, according to the company.

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