Mercedes-Benz and Geely announced that they have formally established the global joint venture “smart Automobile Co., Ltd” to build electric smart cars.
The JV, which is valued at $780 million (R11 billion), has received regulatory approvals.
The new generation of smart vehicles will be designed by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network and developed by the Geely global engineering network.
The companies said in a statement that future production will be located in China.
The global headquarters of the new joint venture has been set in Hangzhou Bay, Ningbo with operational sales functions based in China and Germany.
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 after sales. Tong has more than two decades of experience in automotive industry. Before joining the smart joint venture, he has worked for global automotive OEMs both in the United States and in China.
“The joint venture will bring the next generation of zero-emission smart electric cars to the Chinese and global markets,” said Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.
“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.”