The relaunch of the Smart brand in the form of the Chinese joint venture with Geely is becoming more concrete: The first model is to be an electric SUV, which will also be offered in Europe.
As sales chief Daniel Lescow confirmed on LinkedIn, Smart Automobile’s first electric model, planned for 2022, will be an SUV and will be based on Geely’s SEA platform. The first prototypes have already been built, he said. Mercedes-Benz will continue to be responsible for the design, he added.
Smart’s focus remains strongly on urban mobility, he said. Lescow also confirmed that the electric Smart models produced in China will not only be sold there, but also in Europe. More details are to follow in the coming weeks and months.
The Smart manager did not yet mention rough data such as dimensions, performance and the targeted range. “This won’t be just any SUV,” Lescow said. “This will be a true smart SUV that embodies all we believe in – progressive design, innovation, high-tech and, of course, battery-electric driving.”
Mercedes and Geely had officially established the Smart Automotive joint venture about a year ago. The company is headquartered in Hangzhou Bay in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo. “Operational sales functions” are to be managed from China and Germany.
Geely had unveiled the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) platform in September 2020. The first model with this technology is to be a large Lynk & Co crossover coupe, but in principle the SEA is to be suitable for vehicles from the A to the E segment and also for light commercial vehicles. The Smart, albeit as an SUV, would then be at the lower end of the spectrum.
Geely subsidiary Volvo is also planning electric cars on the SEA platform. As Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson indicated in October 2020, the Swedish company plans to use the platform for a smaller car. “It’s difficult to push the CMA platform [on which the XC40 is based, ed.] further down,” Samuelsson said. “So if you want to build a smaller car than the XC40, SEA lends itself to that.”
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