The sale is part of the automaker’s plan to streamline its production system and, in its own words, “improve its cost structure”.
The company said that the high investments in electrification and digitization in their future models combined with the financial blow of the coronavirus pandemic are what drives them to “optimize” their global production network.
Read more: Daimler CEO says drastic wage cuts are coming, warns Exec to prepare for cuts
The Hambach factory has been building the Smart EQ Fortwo electric since 2019 and currently employs around 1,600 people. In 2018, Daimler invested in the Smart production facility to prepare it for EV production and even planned to build the next EQA there, which should now be produced in Rastatt.
This was before Daimler decided to sell 50% of the Smart brand to Geely last year, creating a new joint venture with the Chinese automaker that will shift production of future Smart models to China.
However, the German automaker seems to have certain conditions for the new owner of the Smart plant. Markus Schäfer, member of the Daimler board of directors, said: “An important objective for us is to secure the future of the site. Another condition: the current Smart models will continue to be produced in Hambach. ”
Smart is planning a new high-end electric vehicle, following Daimler’s agreement with Geely, which is expected to debut after the unveiling of the next generation ForTwo and ForFour models in 2021.