10 January 2020
Daimler and Geely have formally established the joint venture that will take control of the Smart brand, following regulatory approval.
The total registered capital of the joint venture will be 5.4 billion RMB (€700 million) to transform Smart into a ‘leading player in premium-and intelligent electrified vehicles.’ Both parties will equally contribute 2.7 billion RMB (€350 million), the share of Daimler, through its Mercedes-Benz brand, will be mainly covered by the contribution of Smart itself.
The global headquarters of the new joint venture is located in Hangzhou Bay, Ningbo with operational sales functions based in China and Germany, according to an investor statement.
The new generation of Smart vehicles will be designed by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network and developed by the Geely global engineering network. Future production will take place in China. As part of the vehicle-development program, the product portfolio will be extended into the fast-growing B-segment that are in line with Smart’s brand positioning with a focus on pure premium electric and connected vehicles.
‘Having received all necessary regulatory approvals we are now ready to start the joint venture with our partner Geely that has been in preparation for the past several months,’ says Daimler chairman Ola Källenius. ‘The joint venture will bring the next generation of zero-emission smart electric cars to the Chinese and global markets. We look forward to continuing our collaboration to bring desirable products and services to customers around the world.’
‘The smart brand has a unique value and global influence; it has grown to be a leader in urban mobility,’ adds Geely chairman Li Shufu. ‘[We] will fully support the Smart brand with its full advantages in R&D, manufacturing, supply chain and other fields into the joint venture and support its development in China and globally. We will work together with Mercedes-Benz to transform the smart brand into a leading player in urban premium, electric and connected vehicles to successfully develop the brand’s global potential.’
The partnership between Geely and Daimler to develop Smart was announced shortly after the Chinese company, through Shufu, took a majority shareholding in the German carmaker. With Daimler looking for ways to save money, it was considering a full sale of Smart, prior to the establishment of the joint venture.
Geely’s involvement will allow the expensive development of electric vehicle (EV) technology to be shared with other carmakers under its umbrella, and the company could bring experience from its Volvo and LEVC brands to speed up the project.