Daimler has put its Good automobile manufacturing unit up on the market in Hambach, France.
I used to be there in Hambach watching as that plant began up in 1997. And to place it mildly, it was an uncommon auto plant.
All the pieces about it. The model’s identify was uncommon (Daimler spells Good with a lowercase “s”). The concept of a world microcar was uncommon. Even the form of the manufacturing line was odd. Some meeting strains are straight. Some bend, some loop. Hambach is formed like a plus signal.
And therein lies the story of Hambach.
Coincidence or not, “+” additionally occurred to be the form of the official brand of Swatch, the colorfully zany Swiss wristwatch firm. Recall that Good was conceived as a spirited partnership between Daimler — an organization hungry to interrupt out of its stuffy previous methods and shed its fame as an inefficient producer — and the founding father of Swatch, Nicolas Hayek.
Hayek wished to make his mark on cars, not in contrast to the needs of Apple, or extra not too long ago, of the vacuum cleaner magnate James Dyson.
Their ensuing Hambach enterprise was to auto meeting vegetation what a Swatch watch is to a basic Patek Philippe. Low value. Iconoclastic. And slightly bit zany.
Hambach broke the foundations. To convey down prices, suppliers operated their very own elements of the plant and used the plus-sign structure to put in their very own modular, interchangeable elements.
It confirmed that stuffy previous Daimler actually might coloration exterior the strains.
However Hayek shrugged it off. He had backed out of the undertaking early on, reportedly dissatisfied by the method. He confirmed up there that day in 1997 to see the auto plant’s beginning. He waved to the cameras, then left early. As a result of, in the long run, Good wound up being only a automobile. Good. Enjoyable. However only a automobile.
For its half, Daimler apparently now sees Hambach in an analogous gentle. Colourful and gutsy it might need been. However now, simply one other automobile plant.