Mercedes-Benz and Geely Act Smart, Establish smart Europe GmbH

Smart Europe 25 photos
Photo: Daimler AG
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Some might remember smart as that quirky company that was born from the collective minds of Swiss watchmakers and German engineers. Others might recall smart because the fortwo (originally the City Coupé) is that car you could plant facing the sidewalk while everyone else is parallel parked. And a select few might even be aware of the brand’s transition towards a more sustainable future.
And we are not just tying this prospective move to the company’s decision to abandon internal combustion engines altogether in favor of electricity. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz AG division and China’s Geely Holding reached the decision to work together to reinvent the smart brand last year – and they created a new global joint venture: “smart Automobile Co., Ltd.

The new company was formally set up during the early days of the year after receiving all the necessary approvals from the authorities. And in the process its worldwide headquarters moved from the predecessor’s Böblingen, Germany house to a new location in China: Hangzhou Bay, Ningbo.

It is easy to understand why – Mercedes-Benz will only take care of the design duties. Meanwhile, everything else – from development to production, has the Geely stamp of approval. While manufacturing of the new generation of electric vehicles from smart will be relocated to China, the new joint venture is not ready to abandon Europe.

Thus, Mercedes-Benz and Geely recently announced the creation of the smart Europe GmbH subsidiary. We already know all future smart models will arrive underpinned by an all-new electric vehicle platform – and the company has promised a move away from the current microcar segment.

The future electric models from smart are set to grow enough in terms in dimensions to enter the premium B-segment – though new products are not expected until around 2022. Until the moment arrives, smart Europe is shoring up its management forces at its new headquarters in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Stuttgart.

Tong Xiangbei, the new CEO of the global joint venture has appointed Dirk Adelmann as his second-in command in Europe. The chief executive of the subsidiary comes from Mercedes-Benz where he served multiple roles in the sales and marketing departments. Most recently he handled the smart brand’s move towards an all-electric range at the retail level.
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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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