Daimler and Geely are joining forces, this time for Daimler's Smart car brand.
Through a new 50:50 joint venture, Daimler and China-based Geely will together own, develop and operate the Smart electric vehicle brand on a more global scale. In order to meet the demands of vehicle electrification, the two automotive groups will share their expertise, engineering, and design philosophies.
Under the joint venture agreement, a new generation of Smart electric vehicle models will be assembled in China. With this purpose-built electric car factory, both companies see global sales to begin in 2022. 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.
“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.” Furthermore, he said, “We will jointly design and develop the next generation of Smart electric cars that combine high-quality production and known safety standards for sale both in China and globally,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“We fully respect the value of Smart. This brand has a unique appeal and strong commercial value. Geely Holding and Daimler look forward to this challenging and exciting new project, through which we will further push the introduction of premium electric products to give a better mobility experience to our customers. 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,” added Li Shufu, Geely Holding Chairman.
As quoted, both partners have agreed that their Smart vehicles will be styled by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network, while engineering will be care of the Geely global engineering centers.
The joint venture is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019, and as part of their vehicle development program, plans of extending their product portfolio into the B-segment are expected to be rolled out as well.