Last year, Daimler and Geely formed a 50:50 joint venture to develop Smart which aims to develop the next Smart cars. The partnership with Geely is seen as an opportunity to revive the nameplate as a pure EV brand, an attempt to save Smart that has underperformed in terms of sales for years.
That company is now more formal, as Daimler announced Smart’s new global leadership team to oversee the company’s operations. The joint venture will be called Smart Europe and is a collaboration between Geely and Mercedes-Benz, with products intended for the European market.
At the helm of Smart is the CEO of Xiangbei Tong, who was announced earlier this year. Mr. Tong was a former Geely executive who started with the Chinese company in 2015 and led the completion of Lynk & Co.’s production plant in China. He also held other roles within Geely Auto Group.
Mr. Tong’s global Smart team consists of Daniel Lescow as vice president of sales, marketing and after-sales service; Jun Yang as vice president of research and development; and Ulf Nestler as vice president of finance and chief financial officer. All members of the management team worked for Daimler for the Chinese market or under Geely subsidiary brands.
It should be noted that the head office of Smart Europe will be located in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Tong appoints Dirk Adelmann as CEO of Smart Europe, with former Mercedes-Benz CFO and Control Officer Martin Günther as CFO.
It is not known if Smart’s new global leadership team is an effect of Geely’s intention to have a deeper connection with Daimler. What is certain is that Smart will grow by entering the B segment by 2022 with a new all-electric vehicle architecture.
Currently, Geely owns majority stakes in Volvo, Polestar, Lotus, Proton and Lynk & Co.