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Mercedes-Benz to make EQA in French smart factory

by Ronan Glon

The model will be sold globally.

Mercedes-Benz will invest 500 million euros ($589 million) into its Hambach, France, factory to produce a battery-electric hatchback. The company made the announcement after its chief executive, Dieter Zetsche, met with French president Emmanuel Macron.

The plant, which is located in the north of the country near the border with Germany, currently makes the smart fortwo. Sluggish sales of the third-generation model had workers worried about their future so the announcement of a new model comes as a relief.

In a press release, Daimler explains it chose Hambach after reviewing the site's expertise in building electric cars. Workers began series production of the first electric smart in 2012, and they currently make the hardtop and convertible variants of the fortwo electric drive.

Details about the electric hatchback are few and far between. Tentatively called EQ A, it will most likely draw inspiration from the eponymous concept (pictured) unveiled last year at the Frankfurt auto show. It will be one of about 10 electric cars Mercedes-Benz's EQ sub-brand will introduce by 2022.

Hambach will begin producing the EQ A around the turn of the next decade. The model will be sold globally, meaning it will join the Toyota Yaris, the smart fortwo, and the Bugatti Chiron as the only cars sold in the United States with a "made in France" label.

Photography by Ronan Glon.