Mercedes-Benz has struggled with its smart car brand for a while now, but today it’s relaunching it as an electric car brand with Geely.
In 2017, Daimler made the smart car brand all-electric in North America and lost 2/3 of US dealerships in the process.
They were having issues getting traction for their electric smarts, which were basically electric conversions of previous models.
Now they are changing their strategy and partnering with Chinese auto giant Geely.
Today, Mercedes-Benz and Geely Holding have “formally established the smart brand as a global joint venture.”
They have invested ¥5.4 billion (~$777 million) into the new venture.
Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said about the announcement:
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 continu[ing] our collaboration to bring desirable products and services to customers around the world.
Geely holding chairman Li Shufu added:
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.
Under the new structure, the next generation of smart vehicles will be designed by “the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network and developed by the Geely global engineering network.”
All new vehicles will be produced in China, but they aim to offer them globally, and the brand will also expand into the B-segment, which are slightly bigger cars than the brand has been known for.
Geely is really making some big moves in the electric car world, and its strategy is starting to become clear: They are acquiring global brands from other countries and bringing production to China.
That’s what they have done with Volvo and Polestar.
Now they are doing it with Mercedes-Benz’s smart, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do it with Lotus, too.
This latest deal was likely the result of Geely also buying a roughly 10% stake in Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, just over a year ago.
I know not everyone is going to be happy about them bringing the production to China, but if they are pushing those brands to go all-electric, I’m for it.
If other countries don’t want China to take over the auto industry in the transition to electrification, they know what to do.
What do you think? let us know in the comments section below.
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