Geely and Daimler have formally announced the formation of an equal-parts, 50:50 joint venture for the ownership, operation and development of the smart brand’s family of small urban vehicles. Prior to this, Financial Times reported that a 50% stake deal for the small-car brand was underway.

The new joint venture agreement will see a new generation of electric vehicles by smart assembled at a new purpose-built EV plant in China, with global sales of the EVs set to commence in 2022. This joint venture is expected to be finalised by the end of 2019, said Daimler, and its financial terms have yet to be disclosed.

Daimler CEO and chairman, Dieter Zetsche said: “We look forward to further enhancing the brand with Geely Holding, a strong partner in the electric vehicle segment. We will jointly design and develop the next generation of smart electric cars that combine high-quality production and known safety standards for sale both in China and globally.”

Both parties in the JV have agreed for the new crop of smart models to be styled by the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Design network, while engineering will be handled by Geely global engineering centres, said Geely. On a separate note, Mercedes-Benz will produce an electric vehicle at the Hambach plant and will continue to invest in the facility, Zetsche added.

“As equal partners, we are dedicated to promoting the smart brand globally; we will leverage our experience and global competencies in brand management, R&D, manufacturing, supply chain management and other areas. The synergies from this cooperation 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,” said Geely chairman Li Shufu.

The new joint venture will comprise six executives, and both parties will be equally represented. Daimler board representatives will include Hubertus Troska, boardmember for Greater China, Britta Seeger, board member for marketing and sales of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Markus Schäfer, divisional board member for production and supply chain at Mercedes-Benz Cars and board member for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development.

On the Geely side, board representatives will include Geely Holding chairman Li Shufu, Geely Holding president, Geely Auto Group president and CEO An Conghui, and Geely Holding executive vice president and chief financial officer Daniel Donghui Li.

In the meantime, Daimler will continue to produce the current smart range of models at existing facilities – the smart EQ fortwo in Hambach, France and the smart EQ forfour in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.