Geely, Mercedes launch China JV to build Smart EVs
BEIJING/SHANGHAI: Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd and Mercedes-Benz said yesterday that they would each invest 2.7 billion yuan ($388.77 million) in a China-based venture to build "premium and intelligent electrified" vehicles under the Smart brand.
The 50:50 venture has received regulatory approval and will be based in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo, the Chinese and German automakers said in a statement.
Like Mercedes-Benz, Smart is a Daimler marque.
"The venture will have manufacturing capacity in China and sales operations in China and Germany,'' the automakers said. "Geely will lead in engineering the cars while Mercedes-Benz will take charge of their overall look.''
The partners will each have three executives on the board of directors, with Geely's Tong Xiangbei becoming the venture's global chief executive.
Geely has expanded rapidly through mergers and acquisitions since buying Sweden's Volvo Cars in 2010 from US parent Ford Motor Co.
In 2018, it built a stake of almost 9.7% in Daimler AG and set up a ride-hailing venture in China with the Stuttgart-based carmaker.
Its latest announcement comes just over a month after China's Great Wall Motor Co Ltd and Germany's BMW AG formed a venture to build electric Mini-branded cars in China, the world's biggest market where demand for smaller EVs is on the rise.