The 50:50 joint venture between Daimler and Geely will see the next-gen Smart electric cars being designed in Germany and manufactured in China.
Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and Geely, the Chinese owners of Swedish luxury brand Volvo, have entered a 50:50 joint venture to develop and run Smart as an electric car brand in the future. The agreement between the two groups will see a new generation of Smart electric models assembled at a purpose-built factory in China, with global sales commencing in 2022.
According to the official statement, the new generation of Smart electric vehicles, which will be manufactured under the new agreement, will be styled by Mercedes-Benz Design network in Germany, while the engineering aspect of the new products will be taken care of by Geely. However, this will only happen in 2022. Until then, the current range of Smart vehicles will continue to be produced by Daimler at their current plants in Hambach, France (EQ ForTwo) and at Novo Mesto, Slovenia (EQ ForFour).
In other related news, the Hambach plant will be used by Mercedes-Benz to produce a ‘compact electric vehicle’ under the brand’s dedicated EQ all-electric brand, once the production of Smart cars moves to China. For this new compact electric car project, Mercedes will be pumping investments of 500 million euros into the Hambach plant.
As for the Smart brand’s future, the company’s focus will primarily be on small electric cars for city usage. That said, the two partners have also hinted that the Smart product portfolio is ‘also planned to be extended into the fast-growing B-segment.’ More details and financial terms will be released by the end of 2019 when the joint venture will be fully finalised.