Smart cars may not have ended up being tremendously successful here in the US, but Smart's parent company, Mercedes-Benz, is banking on that not being the case in China where, according to a Reuters report Wednesday, it's just teamed up with Geely to give the small EV maker new life.
Specifically, Mercedes-Benz has entered into a joint venture with Geely (owner of brands such as Lotus and Volvo) that will see Geely engineering and building Smart-branded cars for the Chinese and German markets with aesthetics being handled by Mercedes. Both companies are investing just shy of $389 million in the venture.
The Chinese government has already given approval to the venture, and it will soon be setting up shop in the city of Ningbo, which is located not far from Geely's Hangzhou headquarters. Geely's Tong Xiangbei will head the venture.
So, with Smart being known for building small and (relatively) efficient vehicles, what kind of cars should we expect from this Sino-Teutonic Voltron of commerce? More of the same, likely. The stated goal is to build "premium and intelligent," whatever that means.