Mercedes and Chinese car maker Geely (which already owns the likes of Volvo, Proton, and Lotus) have officially their signed their deal to share ownership of the Smart brand.
Joint venture to restart Smart sales
The joint venture, which it is hoped will kick-start flagging sales for the Smart brand, will see the small car maker move its main manufacturing and management centres to Hangzhou Bay, while the sales and marketing side will remain in Germany. The joint company will now be owned half and half by Geely and Mercedes with a board of directors made up of six members each from Geely and Mercedes.
New family of Smart modelsS
Geely and Mercedes have said that their first priority is to design a new generation of Smart vehicles, which will focus on the global b-segment (which is more or less Fiesta-sized, indicating that Smart may move away from its traditional tiny two-seater models) all of which will be both electrically-powered and web-connected.
All-electric and connected
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."