Daimler will continue to produce models from its Smart brand but with some help. Together with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding) Daimler announced the formation of a 50-50 globally focused joint venture to own, operate and further develop smart, the pioneer of small urban vehicles, as a leader in premium-electrified vehicles.
Under the joint venture agreement, a new generation of smart electric models will be assembled at a new purpose-built electric car factory in China with global sales due to begin in 2022.
The board of directors of the new smart joint venture will be made up of six executives with equal representation from both parties.
The joint venture partners have agreed that the new generation of smart vehicles will be styled by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network with engineering from Geely global engineering centers. Future production will be located in China.
As part of the vehicle-development program, the smart product portfolio is also planned to be extended into the fast-growing B-segment.
Prior to the launch of new models from 2022 onwards, Daimler will continue to produce the current generation of smart vehicles in its Hambach plant France (smart EQ fortwo) and at Novo Mesto (Slovenia, smart EQ forfour).
In parallel, the Hambach plant will assume an additional new role in the Mercedes-Benz Cars production network and will produce a compact electric vehicle by Mercedes-Benz under the new product and technology brand EQ in the future. Mercedes-Benz is investing €500 million on the Hambach plant and will use the expertise of its experienced and motivated smart workforce.
The joint venture is expected to be finalised by the end of 2019.