The next-gen Smart will be built and engineered by China's Geely

The next-gen Smart will be built and engineered by China's Geely

The next-gen Smart will be built and engineered by China's Geely

Under the deal, production of Smart cars will move to China, with new electric-only models arriving from 2022 onwards. Based on this success story, we look forward to further enhancing the brand with Geely Holding, a strong partner in the electric vehicle segment.

Chinese auto firm Geely has taken a 50% stake in Smart from Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, the two companies have confirmed. Mercedes' design team has been tasked with penning the future Smarts while Geely will oversee the engineering.

"We fully respect the value of smart", Geely Chairman Li Shufu said in a statement. This brand has a unique appeal and strong commercial value.

Daimler's troubled minicar brand Smart has been thrown a lifeline by Geely which will help with the development of a next-generation lineup to be built in China and sold globally. "The synergies from this co-operation will lead to mutual benefits, at the same time we will further develop technologies for Smart including connectivity, to continue to lead in the industry as it undergoes a wider transformation". Future production will be located in China. In addition, Smart wants to expand beyond today's micro cars, with plans for the model range to be "extended into the fast-growing B-segment".

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Daimler now develops and builds Smart cars with Renault, and constructs the small vehicles at factories in France and Slovenia.

But Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said that with its Mercedes-Benz division continuing production of a new "EQ" vehicle at the Hambach plant, no jobs will be lost.

€500 million ($562 million) will be invested in the French factory for the new line, according to news agency AFP. Last year, Daimler and Geely set up a ride-hailing joint venture in China. The details of the joint venture will be finalised by the end of 2019, they said in a joint press release.

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