Daimler Partnered with Geely for Next Generation Smart Vehicles
2019-04-02 13:06 Tuesday
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler recently announced their partnership with Geely to develop the next generation of electric Smart cars in China.
Under the agreement, the next generation of Smart cars will be assembled at a plant in China with global sales starting in 2022. Prior to that, Daimler will continue to produce Smart cars at plants in France and Slovenia.
Daimler launched its Smart brand two decades ago, but the tiny cars never caught on with consumers. Only 130,000 Smart cars were sold worldwide in 2018.
"Our smallest vehicle still has huge potential — in China and beyond. Geely is the right partner to take advantage of these opportunities," Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche wrote in a blog post.
Daimler and Geely will own 50% of the global joint venture respectively. "None of our colleagues at Smart will lose their jobs as a result of these decisions," "On the contrary. We need the passion and creativity of the Smart team more than ever." "After all, these changes are no ending for Smart –- but a new beginning." said Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche in a statement.
Geely is owned by Chinese billionaire Li Shufu, who is also Daimler's main shareholder. Daimler had already announced plans to focus entirely on electric drive Smarts by 2020.
Daimler's focus on urban mobility and electric technology makes it attractive to Geely, which already owns Volvo and is based in the world's largest market for electric cars.
Chinese government has encouraged carmakers to develop and sell electric cars by offering generous subsidies and tax breaks. China accounts for about half of global electric car sales. Other global automakers, including Daimler's Germany rivals Volkswagen and BMW, are also investing heavily in electric cars and new mobility technology.