Daimler AG and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group the German and Chinese automotive groups, today announced the formation of a 50-50 globally focused joint venture to own, operate and further develop smart, as a leader in premium-electrified vehicles.
It’s said that smart will gain shared expertise in manufacturing, engineering and design from both groups. Also, smart will expand to meet demand for electrification, with production based in China. The EVs will be assembled at a new purpose-built electric car plant with global sales due to begin in 2022 in what is said to be an all-electric product renewal.
“For more than 2.2 million customers, smart represents a pioneer in urban mobility. Based on this success story, we look forward to further enhancing the brand with Geely Holding, a strong partner in the electric vehicle segment,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler.
“The synergies from this cooperation will lead to mutual benefits, at the same time we will further develop technologies for smart including connectivity, to continue to lead in the industry as it undergoes a wider transformation,” said Li Shufu, Geely Holding Chairman.
In parallel, the Hambach plant will assume an additional new role in the Mercedes-Benz Cars production network and will produce a compact electric vehicle by Mercedes-Benz under the new product and technology brand EQ in the future. Mercedes-Benz is investing €500 million on the Hambach plant and will use the expertise of its experienced and motivated smart workforce.
Prior to the launch of new models from 2022 onwards, Daimler will continue to produce the current generation of smart vehicles in its Hambach plant France (smart EQ fortwo) and at Novo Mesto (Slovenia, smart EQ forfour).
The board of directors of the new smart joint venture will be made up of six executives with equal representation from both parties.
Daimler AG board representatives will include Hubertus Troska, Daimler AG Board of Management member responsible for Greater China, Britta Seeger, Daimler AG Board of Management member responsible for Marketing and Sales of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain and designated Board of Management Member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Geely board representatives will include Geely Holding Chairman Li Shufu, Geely Holding President, Geely Auto Group President and CEO An Conghui, Geely Holding Executive Vice President and CFO Daniel Donghui Li.
The joint venture partners have agreed that the new generation of smart vehicles will be styled by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network with engineering from Geely global engineering centers. Future production will be located in China.