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Daimler and Chinese auto giant Geely to develop next generation smart cars

The new Smart cars will be styled by the Mercedes-Benz Design network with engineering provided by Geely

AFP | PTI  |  Berlin 

Geely auto

maker and Chinese announced plans Thursday to develop the next generation of electric to be made in in a joint venture.

Under the agreement, expected to be finalised by the end of 2019, the new vehicle will go on global sale in 2022, the German and Chinese said in a joint statement.

The 12-strong board of directors of the new venture will be made up of six executives from each company.

The new will be styled by the Design network with engineering provided by

Prior to the launch of the next generation, will continue to produce the current "fortwo" model of the car at its plant in Hambach,

The Smart car will then leave its historic home in to be manufactured in China, but insists no jobs will be lost.

"None of our colleagues at Smart will lose their jobs as a result of these decisions," said Daimler boss in a statement.

"On the contrary. We need the passion and creativity of the Smart team more than ever.

"After all, these changes are not ending for Smart -- but a new beginning." Daimler says USD 562 million will be invested in the Hambach plant, which will assume "an additional role" producing a compact electric vehicle under the new 'EQ' product brand.

"All jobs will be sustained through our new project which will consist of creating a new assembly line for the construction of a electric SUV in Hambach," Serge Siebert, of Smart France, told the Le Republicain newspaper on Wednesday.

is owned by Chinese billionaire Li Shufu, who is also Daimler's main shareholder having acquired nearly 10 percent of shares in the German manufacturer in February 2018.

Li's investment, which is reportedly worth around 7.2 billion euros, in the firm has raised political concerns about Beijing's ambitions in

First Published: Thu, March 28 2019. 13:50 IST