Following Geely, BAIC is now also joining Daimler. The BAIC Group has acquired a stake of around five per cent in Daimler AG, according to the German automotive group. Daimler and BAIC have a long-standing strategic partnership.
The companies did not comment on concrete (electric) projects, the new Daimler CEO Ola Källenius only welcomed the Chinese investor in a friendly short announcement. “We are very pleased that our long-standing partner BAIC is now a long-term investor in Daimler,” said Källenius. “This step reinforces our successful partnership and is a signal of trust in the strategy and future potential of our company. The Chinese market is and remains a crucial pillar of our success – not only for sales but also for our product development and production,” the CEO added.
BAIC is an important partner for Daimler in China, the companies are building several combustion models for the Chinese market in a joint venture in two plants around Beijing. In addition, the Stuttgart-based company has held a 9.55 per cent stake in BAIC Motor since 2013. “We want to further strengthen this alliance by acquiring a stake in Daimler,” said Heyi Xu, Chairman of BAIC.
The two companies are also working together on electrical projects. Among other things, since last year Daimler has held a minority interest in Beijing Electric Vehicle (BJEV) – an electric car subsidiary of BAIC. BJEV was founded by BAIC in 2009 as a development platform for New Energy Vehicles. The main business segment in China comprises research and development, production as well as sales and service for New Energy Vehicles and NEV core components. With 103,200 all-electric cars delivered in 2017, BJEV led the Chinese electric car market for the fifth consecutive year. In fact, generally, European carmakers spend seven times more on electric vehicle production in China than in Europe, largely because Europe lacks the kind of mandate that the Chinese government has issued for the transition to electric mobility.
Daimler’s larger electric project in China is Denza, which the German company operate jointly with BYD. In June, Denza presented its Concept X, a futuristically designed electric SUV.