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The smartville plant in Hambach, Lorraine is one of the most state-of-the-art automobile factories. It is also a symbol of successful German-French cooperation. Inaugurated in 1997 by Helmut Kohl and Jacques Chirac, the first smart customer vehicle rolled off the production line in 1998. More than 1.5 million smart fortwos have been produced so far.
In the smartville plant the smart fortwo and smart fortwo electric drive are produced in parallel in the record time of 7.5 hours. This is made possible by an assembly line shaped like a “plus” sign which ensures highly efficient production processes. The required parts are delivered directly to the production line by suppliers located nearby. This also keeps warehouse stocks low. Incidentally, in June 2012 smartville was the first plant in Europe to start fully integrated series production of electric vehicles.