Now that most automakers are re-launching production and restructuring their organizations to compensate for the negative effects of the coronavirus, some companies have accelerated plans that have been in the works for months. Daimler has just announced that they will invest massively in future technologies in the coming years, with the aim of CO₂ neutral mobility. Development is not cheap and with application on production lines, staff training and parts supply, the costs add up considerably for the electrification and digitization of vehicles and business processes. A serious realignment and overhaul of the company’s global production network is required, with Daimler planning to start talks on the sale of its car assembly plant in Hambach, France. The same factory that has been producing smart cars for years.
The CEO of Damiler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, Ola Källenius, said that efforts to transform the business and the products are progressing as quickly as possible. “In the light of significant future investments, particularly in electrification and digitization, we are constantly implementing measures to increase efficiency. This affects all areas of the business worldwide. In addition, the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on the economy create new framework conditions. in the market and in this context, we are optimizing our global production network, which is why we intend to start discussions on the sale of the Hambach factory.
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Markus Schäfer, member of the executive committee of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, head of research for the Daimler group and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO, also commented that this phase of economic challenge requires a balance between demand and the capacity. “These changes also affect the Hambach factory. An important objective for us is to guarantee the future of the site. Another condition: the current Smart models will continue to be produced in Hambach.”
Opened in October 1997, the Hambach factory has produced the fourth generation of Smart EVs with Smart EQ Fortwo and Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio since 2019. The site employs around 1,600 employees and has produced more than 2.2 million Smart Fortwos.