Daimler moves Smart to China to be built by Geely
German carmaker Daimler announced on Thursday it is going to move the production of Smart from Hambach (France) to China to build it together with Geely from 2022 on. The historic Smart site in Hambach will produce an electric Mercedes model instead.
The next generation Smart will be completely electric and is to be produced in a purpose-built new factory in China in a 50-50 joint-venture with Geely. This way, Li Shufu, owner of Geely and Swedish car brand Volvo, is also one of Daimler’s biggest shareholders with 10% of shares.
Developed by Geely
The new Smart will be designed by Mercedes, while the technical development and production will be done by Geely. They will be produced in China for the worldwide market. The Hambach site, will continue to produce Smarts until the new model is ready for market introduction. Beside that, it will build the compact model of Daimler’s new electric EQ brand.
In the Hambach factory in France some 800 people are working on Smart today, with another 170 in sales and development in the site of Böblingen (Germany). Apart from the French factory, Smarts are also built in Slovenia, in Novo Mesto.
Next compact EV SUV
In May last year, Daimler already announced it had chosen the French Smart factory in Hambach to produce its first Mercedes in France, a compact electric SUV of the announced EQ electric car range. Starting this year, the plant will undergo a renovation to build a new assembly line for this next compact electric SUV. An investment of 500 million euro.
Bit by bit it will also phase out any internal combustion engine production for Smarts. By 2022, Daimler plans on producing more than ten different models of electric cars. It all started with the recent SUV EQC, presented at the Paris Motor Show. By 2025, the group wants to get at a 15 to 25% of EV sales worldwide.