Geely will develop a new generation of electric Smart vehicles that will be designed by Mercedes, the statement said.
Mercedes and Geely will build Smart-branded electric cars in the Chinese city of Xian in a factory with annual capacity of around 150,000 vehicles, Leng Yan, executive vice president in China for Mercedes’ parent, Daimler, said on Jan. 11 on the sidelines of China’s EV100 forum in Beijing.
Daimler partners with BAIC Group to make Mercedes cars in Beijing and also builds trucks with BAIC’s unit Beiqi Foton Motor.
Daimler will continue to produce the current generation of Smart vehicles at its Hambach plant in France and at Renault’s Novo Mesto in Slovenia until the new factory is operational. Smart’s ForTwo and ForFour cars share underpinnings with the Renault Twingo. After 2022, the Hambach factory will build electric cars for Mercedes.
Geely’s Tong Xiangbei, 49, will be the JV’s global CEO. Tong worked for Ford for 17 years, where he oversaw the development of production plants in the U.S. and China. He joined Geely in 2015 and led the completion of a factory to build the automaker’s Lynk & CO brand.
Geely has expanded rapidly through mergers and acquisitions since buying Sweden’s Volvo Cars in 2010 from Ford.
In 2018, it built a stake of almost 9.7 percent in Daimler and set up a ride-hailing venture in China with the German automaker.
Geely’s latest announcement comes just over a month after BMW and Great Wall formed a venture to build electric Minis in China, the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles, where demand for smaller EVs is on the rise.
Font: Automotive News Europe