Chinese owned automobile company Geely and
Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler have teamed up to create a smart
automobile. The joint venture will cost an estimated RMB5.4 billion and is set
to shake-up the electric car market.
Daimler and Geely will each contribute RMB2.7 billion to the venture. Mercedes-Benz will be responsible for research and design of the vehicle which will operate under the Smart Automobile Co. brand.
All production will take place in China and utilise the Geely Holdings Group’s resources in the manufacturing processes.
The agreement between the two parties came in the
same month Geely launched a plug-in, London-style, electric taxi in Japan.
Geely is no newcomer to car innovation. The group is a leader in autonomous driving technology. Company CEO and Chinese billionaire Li Shufu purchased $9 billion worth of Daimler shares in 2018. The group also owns Lotus and Volvo, a motor vehicle manufacturer often hailed as a trailblazer in automotive safety and innovation.
Tong Xiangbei has been appointed CEO of the smart venture and will oversee marketing, sales, R&D and production. Tong has worked for automotive original equipment manufacturers in China and the United States.
Ola Kellenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG, confirmed that all regulatory approvals were in order and the venture between the two parties would herald the next generation of zero-emission cars for a global audience.
Geely CEO Li Shufu said the brand would become a leading player in “urban premium” connected cars.