May 18, 2018 / 11:40 AM / 7 months ago

Mercedes-Benz to make Tesla-rivalling electric compact car

FRANKFURT, May 18 (Reuters) - Daimler will invest 500 million euros ($589 million) in Hambach, France, to start producing a small compact electric Mercedes-Benz in addition to its electric cars currently manufactured there for the Smart brand.

It plans to launch more than 10 electric vehicles for Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2022 as U.S. rival Tesla struggles to ramp up production of its Tesla Model 3.

“The Smart plant in Hambach will become a part of our global compact car production network with the lead plant in Rastatt, Germany,” Mercedes-Benz production chief Markus Schaefer said in a statement on Friday.

Mercedes currently makes its compact A-class and GLA models at plants in Rastatt (Germany), Kecskemét (Hungary), Beijing and in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Last year Mercedes sold 420,000 cars based on its compact car platform.

The investment will expand assembly facilities and reshape the site’s infrastructure to produce the first ever Mercedes-Benz in France, Daimler said.

Mercedes is already gearing up to produce the EQC, a fully-electric SUV, based on the same platform as the GLC model, in 2019.

$1 = 0.8493 euros Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Jason Neely

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