Mercedes-Benz partners with Geely to develop next-generation electric Smart

Andrew Cummings
January 12, 2020

Chinese giant Geely and Mercedes-Benz have completed a 50:50 joint venture that will build Smart models in China, Reuters reports.

The companies have secured the regulatory approvals to formally establish Smart as a global joint venture based in Hangzhou Bay, Ningbo, and will have sales organizations in China and Germany. Both parties will equally contribute 2.7 billion RMB, the share of Mercedes-Benz AG will be mainly covered by the contribution of the Smart brand.

Mercedes-Benz successfully defended its crown as the world's bestselling luxury-car brand, beating out arch-rivals BMW AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi for the fourth year in a row. That means the production of future smart cars will be moved to China. Each company will have three executives on the board of directors of the new company. That target remains unchanged, as does the vehicle development plan which includes the expansion of the Smart brand into the fast-growing B-segment.

As a carmaking group, BMW sold 2.52 million vehicles past year to beat Daimler's 2.46 million Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles over the same period. Tong has more than two decades of experience in the automotive industry.

Li Shufu, Geely Holding chairman said: "The Smart brand has a unique value and global influence; it has grown to be a leader in urban mobility".

The two will work in synergy in areas such as research and development, manufacturing and supply chain, and are committed to building the Smart brand into a world-leading high-end electric smart auto brand, according to a statement. Smart a year ago became an electric-only brand.

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