Currently reading: Mercedes-Benz to sell Smart factory in France
Firm plans a global 'realignment of capacity' but says Smart models will still be produced at the site
James Attwood, digital editor
News
2 mins read
3 July 2020

Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to close its factory in Hambach, France, where vehicles for the Smart brand are currently produced, as part of measures to cut costs and streamline its production network - and in a move that represents a major shift in its electric production strategy.

The plant in the Moselle province of France, originally known as ‘Smartville’, opened in 1997 to build cars for the Mercedes city car brand. It currently produces the electric Smart EQ Fortwo and EQ Fortwo Cabriolet. Around 1600 staff currently work at the site. 

In 2018, Mercedes announced a €500 million (£445m) investment into the facility to upgrade it for electric car production, with plans to build a compact Mercedes EQ model alongside the Smart line. But last year, Mercedes-Benz sold 50% of the Smart brand to Chinese firm Geely, with production of its future models switching to China as part of the agreement - and creating questions over the future of the Hambach site.

The German firm said the need to invest in electrification and digitalisation of vehicles and cut CO2 emissions from production, along with the economic impact of Covid-19, meant that it needed to take measures to “sustainably improve its cost structure and become significantly more efficient”. 

Board member Markus Schäfer said: "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.” It is not clear if Mercedes intends to operate the plant until the production run of the current Smart models ends, or if that will be part of the contract for any new buyer.

Mercedes has previously announced plans to build electric cars at its German plants in Bremen, Rastatt and Sindelfingen, and the production of the unnamed compact EQ model due to be built at Hambach will likely shift to one of those sites.

READ MORE

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3 July 2020

Yet again no comments on job loses, why? because they're not UK job losses so it's OK for this side of the channel to ignore them.

This is yet another sad example of many jobs being lost in mainland Europe, yet here in the UK, the irony is it's the remoaners now distancing themselves from the EU because this type of news story doesnt fit their agenda. According to them, only the UK can loose auto industry jobs. Whenever a UK job is lost, out comes Mike Hawes and co. to tell you it's a result of Brexit, a result of uncertainty, that we need a deal.

Have said it before and will say it again, what good did being in the EU do for those auto industry jobs that are about to be lost? If I've understood the story correctly, the cars earmarked for manufacture in France are now likely to be manufactured in Germany. Fat lot of good a trade deal did for French workers then.

 

4 July 2020

Scotty5: if cars are still be made at the plant, it follows workers must still be there to do so.

The article isn't clear, but seems to imply the plant will be sold not closed.

4 July 2020
scotty5 wrote:

Yet again no comments on job loses, why? because they're not UK job losses so it's OK for this side of the channel to ignore them.

This is yet another sad example of many jobs being lost in mainland Europe, yet here in the UK, the irony is it's the remoaners now distancing themselves from the EU because this type of news story doesnt fit their agenda. According to them, only the UK can loose auto industry jobs. Whenever a UK job is lost, out comes Mike Hawes and co. to tell you it's a result of Brexit, a result of uncertainty, that we need a deal.

Have said it before and will say it again, what good did being in the EU do for those auto industry jobs that are about to be lost? If I've understood the story correctly, the cars earmarked for manufacture in France are now likely to be manufactured in Germany. Fat lot of good a trade deal did for French workers then.

 

We won, we now have a Brexit government, you not noticed? When we were not in the EU don't you remember "British" cars were manufactured in Pamplona (Authi) and Milan (Innocenti), then when we joined the EU those jobs came to the UK, now we are leaving those jobs will leave the UK too.

5 July 2020
230SL wrote:

scotty5 wrote:

Yet again no comments on job loses, why? because they're not UK job losses so it's OK for this side of the channel to ignore them.

This is yet another sad example of many jobs being lost in mainland Europe, yet here in the UK, the irony is it's the remoaners now distancing themselves from the EU because this type of news story doesnt fit their agenda. According to them, only the UK can loose auto industry jobs. Whenever a UK job is lost, out comes Mike Hawes and co. to tell you it's a result of Brexit, a result of uncertainty, that we need a deal.

Have said it before and will say it again, what good did being in the EU do for those auto industry jobs that are about to be lost? If I've understood the story correctly, the cars earmarked for manufacture in France are now likely to be manufactured in Germany. Fat lot of good a trade deal did for French workers then.

 

We won, we now have a Brexit government, you not noticed? When we were not in the EU don't you remember "British" cars were manufactured in Pamplona (Authi) and Milan (Innocenti), then when we joined the EU those jobs came to the UK, now we are leaving those jobs will leave the UK too.

You quote two small plants that produced cars partly from 'KD' components -car parts made in the UK at that time and shipped unassembled to Spain and Italy- with some locally-produced content to get over local-content and import regulations (often by wieght or other % of the finished vehicle, hence engines &/ subframes made locally). It's not the same thing at all as having a car completely manufactured overseas, especially when said plants ended up majority-owned by the British companies BMC/BL. Authi was sold by BL to SEAT, Austin-Innocenti was owned by BMC/BL as well, then sold in 1976. (Innocenti Minis, were re-bodied Minis, df) Those jobs didn't 'come to the UK' they mostly stayed on with the new owners as the communists were destroying jobs in the UK car plants during that era...

 

4 July 2020

I agree with you but it is LOSE not LOOSE!!

 

scotty5 wrote:

Yet again no comments on job loses, why? because they're not UK job losses so it's OK for this side of the channel to ignore them.

This is yet another sad example of many jobs being lost in mainland Europe, yet here in the UK, the irony is it's the remoaners now distancing themselves from the EU because this type of news story doesnt fit their agenda. According to them, only the UK can loose auto industry jobs. Whenever a UK job is lost, out comes Mike Hawes and co. to tell you it's a result of Brexit, a result of uncertainty, that we need a deal.

Have said it before and will say it again, what good did being in the EU do for those auto industry jobs that are about to be lost? If I've understood the story correctly, the cars earmarked for manufacture in France are now likely to be manufactured in Germany. Fat lot of good a trade deal did for French workers then.

 

7 July 2020

Can I make you eat your words now or shall I wait until you find the article yourself?  Keen Brexiter Jim Ratcliffe is going to buy the Smart factory in France for his Ineos Grenadier and close down the Welsh factory he was in the process of building.  Being stuck outside the EU it turns out isn't very attractive to the car industry in the event of a hard BREXIT.  So to support the UK he's going to move his German designed car to now be built safely within the EU.   So it looks like all the French carworkers won't lose their jobs after all.  Just the ones at Ford in Bridgend.....  But you keep believing in your fantasy world....reality will be here soon enough.

4 July 2020

Is it closing or being sold - why would you continue to make cars there if you're closing it? The article makes zero sense.

4 July 2020

Mercedes said they'd shift the production of the planned cars to be made in France to their other German factories. So that means that some of those jobs will remain in the EU. What Mercedes haven't said is what happens if they can't find a buyer??? They haven't made that clear because if they did the French unions would walk out straight away & start barricades with burning tyres outside the Hambach factory. Compare that to what happens in the UK, Honda announces it's gonna close Swindon in 2021 & nobody demonstarted against it!!! No demo's out side the factory, no blockades, absolutley no reaction at all! The British just accept it & just think it's enevitable. The French must think we are plain stupid not to put up a fight anymore.

4 July 2020

Mercedes said they'd shift the production of the planned cars to be made in France to their other German factories. So that means that some of those jobs will remain in the EU. What Mercedes haven't said is what happens if they can't find a buyer??? They haven't made that clear because if they did the French unions would walk out straight away & start barricades with burning tyres outside the Hambach factory. Compare that to what happens in the UK, Honda announces it's gonna close Swindon in 2021 & nobody demonstarted against it!!! No demo's out side the factory, no blockades, absolutley no reaction at all! The British just accept it & just think it's enevitable. The French must think we are plain stupid not to put up a fight anymore.

5 July 2020

Smart move!

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