Daimler and Geely announced a new joint venture on Thursday with plans to launch a new generation of Smart models by 2022.
Geely and Daimler formed a 50-50 joint venture with plans of redesigning and relaunching the Smart brand by 2022. New Smart models will be built in China and will explore more segments including subcompact cars.
The partnership calls for Daimler to provide engineering knowledge and Mercedes-Benz to provide design work for upcoming smart vehicles. Geely will then build them on its home turf in China.
“For more than 2.2 million customers, smart represents a pioneer in urban mobility. Based on this success story, we look forward to further enhancing the brand with Geely Holding, a strong partner in the electric vehicle segment. We will jointly design and develop the next generation of smart electric cars that combine high-quality production and known safety standards for sale both in China and globally. In the future, we are looking forward to working with all partners to sustain our success in China and worldwide. Separately, Mercedes-Benz will produce a compact electric vehicle at the Hambach plant, sustaining employment with further investment in the facility.”
– Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
As the new partnership takes form and new models are developed, Daimler intends to continue to produce the current Smart Fortwo and European Smart Forfour at its Hamback plant in France.
Daimler confirmed that the plant will continue to see work even after Smart leaves for China. Mercedes-Benz intends to build an electric EQ compact car there in the future.
“We fully respect the value of smart. This brand has a unique appeal and strong commercial value. Geely Holding and Daimler look forward to this challenging and exciting new project, through which we will further push the introduction of premium electric products to give a better mobility experience to our customers. As equal partners, we are dedicated to promoting the smart brand globally; we will leverage our experience and global competencies in brand management, R&D, manufacturing, supply chain management and other areas. The synergies from this cooperation will lead to mutual benefits, at the same time we will further develop technologies for smart including connectivity, to continue to lead in the industry as it undergoes a wider transformation.”
– Li Shufu, Geely Holding Chairman
The combination of Geely’s resources with Daimler’s expertise should lead to an exciting new lineup for Smart. The brand currently only offers one model in North America (the Fortwo) and sales have been stagnant.
We should learn more about what Daimler and Geely have in store for Smart’s rebirth in 2020.
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