Chinese carmaker Geely has added another brand to its ever-growing portfolio. The company, which currently owns Volvo, Lotus Cars, and Lynk & Co., recently launched a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz’ parent company, Daimler, to co-develop and produce the next generation of autonomous electric city “smart” cars based on the smart Vision EQ concept shown here.
The move is being seen by some of Geely’s critics within Germany as a step towards an outright purchase after Geely’s CEO, Chinese billionaire Li Shufu, bought some $9 billion worth of Daimler shares in 2018. Regardless, the move does make some sense — Volvo (and, by extension, Geely) is recognized as one of the leaders in autonomous vehicle tech, and its hardware and software could be just what the smart brand needs to push its autonomous vision forward.
smart Vision EQ Concept + Solar Chargers
Smart cars almost seem like a pretty natural fit for Geely’s portfolio, especially considering how well smart’s early emphasis on safety meshes with Volvo’s brand narrative and the fact that the smart Vision EQ would slot in well below the Volvo XC40 Reharge electric SUV. Shufu seems to agree, writing that, “The smart brand has a unique value and global influence, it has grown to be a leader in urban mobility,” in a statement released earlier this week. He goes on to add that, “Geely Holding 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.”
So, he’s sold — obviously. What about you guys? Read through the official press release, below, then let us know what you think of this Mercedes/Geely project in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Mercedes-Benz and Geely Holding have formally established its global joint venture “smart Automobile Co., Ltd.” for the smart brand
Stuttgart, Germany; Hangzhou, China — Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz) and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), the German and Chinese automotive groups, today announced that they have formally established the global joint venture “smart Automobile Co., Ltd.” for the smart brand after receiving the regulatory approvals.
The total registered capital of the Joint Venture will be 5.4 billion RMB to transform smart into a leading player in premium-and intelligent electrified vehicles. 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. The global headquarters of the new joint venture has been set in Hangzhou Bay, Ningbo with operational sales functions based in China and Germany.
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 be located in China. As part of the vehicle-development program, the smart 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.
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, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Greater China, Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Marketing & Sales, and Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG 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.
Tong Xiangbei has been appointed the new global CEO of the smart joint venture and will oversee all operations relating to the brand including sales, marketing, R&D, production and after sales. Tong has more than two decades of experience in automotive industry. Before joining the smart joint venture, he has worked for global automotive OEMs both in the United States and in China.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said: “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. The joint venture will bring the next generation of zero-emission smart electric cars to the Chinese and global markets. We look forward to continue our collaboration to bring desirable products and services to customers around the world.”
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. Geely Holding 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.”