smart Hits 1.5 million

Gary S. Vasilash

“1.5 million smart fortwo vehicles underline the uniquely compact smart’s success as a city car,” said Dr. Annette Winkler, head of smart earlier this week, on the occasion of the smart plant in Hambach, France, producing its 1.5-millionth fourtwo, an electric drive cabrio.

smart electric

The plant has been building smart fortwos since 1998, which means about 100,000 units per year.

There are some 1,500 people working in “smartville,” or 800 smart France employees and the balance at the seven supplier companies that are on the site. The assembly line is in a plus (+) configuration to facilitate providing modules to the line for vehicle build.

After building that landmark vehicle, production is being suspended at the facility for a couple months because they are undertaking a massive, more than €200-million expansion and modification. They will be spending some €50-million alone on a new paint shop, replacing the powder-based system with a liquid-based system that meets the Daimler Group environmental standard for passenger car plants.

smart ed

The smart fourtwo is sold in 46 markets. The top three markets for the diminutive car (it is 98 in. long, 59.6 in. wide, and 60.9 in. high) are Germany, Italy and China, presumably three places where parking is at a premium.