Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday stated they would each spend 2.7 billion yuan ($388.77 million) in a China-based venture to construct “premium and intelligent electrified” vehicles under the smart brand.
The 50:50 venture has gained regulatory approval and will be based in the Chinese coastal city in Ningbo, the Chinese and German automakers stated. Similar to Mercedes-Benz, smart is a Daimler AG marque.
The venture will have a manufacturing center in China and sales operations in China and Germany, the automakers stated. Geely will lead in engineering the cars whereas Mercedes-Benz will take charge of their look, they stated.
The partners are going to have three executives on the board of directors, with Geely’s Tong Xiangbei becoming the joint venture’s global chief executive.
Geely has expanded quickly through mergers and acquisitions since its purchase of Sweden’s Volvo in 2010 from U.S. parent Ford. In 2018, it made a stake of nearly 9.7% in Daimler and set up a ride-hailing venture in China with the German automaker.
Its recent announcement comes just over a month following China’s Great Wall Motor and Germany’s BMW AG formed a venture to make electric Mini-branded cars in China.