The Germany-based automotive manufacturer, Daimler, is set to develop its next generation of Smart electric cars in China following a joint venture with Geely, according to Reuters.
On Thursday (28 March), Daimler confirmed it would develop the next generation of Smart-branded city cars at a purpose-built factory in China as it planned to share its expertise in manufacturing, engineering and design with Geely.
Under the agreement, the next generation of Smart cars are set to be assembled at a Chinese plant, with sales expected to begin in 2022.
According to CNN Business, CEO Dieter Zetsche wrote in a blog: “Our smallest vehicle still has huge potential – in China and beyond. Geely is the right partner to take advantage of these opportunities.”
It is expected that Daimler and Geely will each own 50% of the global joint venture with financial terms of the deal left undisclosed.
Due to the high cost of electric car batteries making it more difficult for automakers to develop affordable zero-emission vehicles, it has led to a number of them forming alliances with Chinese partners.
The news follows Daimler’s competitors BMW unveiling plans to develop Minis in China with low production costs and the demand in small electric cars increasing.