Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz) and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), the German and Chinese automotive groups, announced that they have formally established the global joint venture “smart Automobile Co. Ltd.” for the smart brand after receiving the regulatory approvals.
The total registered capital of the Joint Venture will be 5.4 billion RMB to transform smart into a leading player in premium-and intelligent electrified vehicles. Both parties will equally contribute 2.7 billion RMB, the share of Mercedes-Benz AG will be mainly covered by the contribution of the smart brand. The global headquarters of the new joint venture has been set in Hangzhou Bay, Ningbo with operational sales functions based in China and Germany.
The new generation of smart vehicles will be designed by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network and developed by the Geely global engineering network. Future production will be in China with the first range of pure electric products to be launched from 2022. As part of the vehicle-development program, the smart product portfolio will be extended into the fast-growing B-segment that are in line with smart’s brand positioning with a focus on pure premium electric and connected vehicles.
The board of directors of the new smart joint venture will be made up of six executives with equal representation from both parties. Tong Xiangbei has been appointed the new global CEO of the smart joint venture and will oversee all operations relating to the brand including sales, marketing, R&D, production and aftersales. Tong has more than two decades of experience in automotive industry and prior to joining the smart joint venture, he has worked for global automotive OEMs both in the United States and in China.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said: “Having received all necessary regulatory approvals we are now ready to start the joint venture with our partner Geely that has been in preparation for the past several months. The joint venture will bring the next generation of zero-emission smart electric cars to the Chinese and global markets. We look forward to continue our collaboration to bring desirable products and services to customers around the world.”
Li Shufu, Geely Holding Chairman said: “The smart brand has a unique value and global influence, it has grown to be a leader in urban mobility. Geely Holding will fully support the smart brand with its full advantages in R&D, manufacturing, supply chain and other fields into the joint venture and support its development in China and globally. We will work together with Mercedes-Benz to transform the smart brand into a leading player in urban premium, electric and connected vehicles to successfully develop the brand’s global potential.”