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New Mercedes electric car to be made in France

A new electric car by Mercedes is to become the first major German-brand vehicle to be made in France, securing 800 jobs, after Daimler - owner of the Smart car factory in Moselle (Lorraine) - confirmed the agreement this weekend.

The new Mercedes, which will be entirely electric and go on sale from 2020, will be produced at the factory in the town of Hambach, which employs 800 people.

The car will be the first from a large German brand to be manufactured in France.

The factory is known for its productivity and modernity; in the last 20 years it has made over two million models of the Smart car, which was seen as a pioneering “small, urban vehicle” when it was first designed.

Now, Mercedes is set to invest €500 million in the site, allowing it to begin production on this second car model (after the Smart) and become a specialist in electric vehicles.

The announcement was first made in October last year, during the 20th anniversary of the Smart factory, but it was only officially confirmed by the site’s owners at the Elysée Palace in Paris this weekend.

Gaston Meyer, mayor of Hambach, told news source France Info: “I am delighted, for the population, for the people at Smart, for the region. We needed this.”

The news has also been welcomed at the factory, where, in 2015, workers accepted an agreement to work 39 hours a week for just 37 hours’ pay; an increase of two hours’ work per week per worker, in a move that is said to have made the factory much more competitive.

Mario Mutzette, union delegate for the CFE-CGC, said: “We are reaping the benefits. It’s great; it shows that the workers will have jobs for at least 20 years, and it is a reward for all the workers who have made this [two hour] effort since 2015.”

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