NEWSWATCH: Chinese manufacturer, Geely, which fully-owns Volvo as well as black cab maker, London Taxi Company, is now buying a $9.2bn stake in German automaker, Daimler - which will effectively make it Daimler's biggest shareholder.
According to reports
, Geely has been pursuing cooperation with Daimler for some time now, specifically around autonomous driving and EVs. Steve Man
from Bloomberg Intelligence says this deal wasn't for passenger automotive but rather for commercial vehicles. In an interview, he notes that: "With Tesla's recently launched
semi heavy duty truck, it's kind of given Geely a nudge into an aggressive push into commercial vehicles."
Another big reason for the investment could well be that Geely is seeking access to technology and innovation in exchange for the deal. Financial Times
reports that chairman Li Shufu said: “In order to succeed and seize the technology highland, one has to have friends, partners and alliances.”
AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie comments: “South Africans are loyal and traditional car buyers, favouring the German brands. We have seen this for many years – it’s reflected in AutoTrader search statistics – the most searched-for vehicle in 2017 was the BMW 3 Series, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Volkswagen Golf.”
“However, given international trends – and the fact that Daimler, the world’s most prestigious vehicle manufacturer, now has Li Shufu, chairman of Chinese automaker Geely, as its largest shareholder – we could see a shift in buying preferences, with South Africans aspiring to own Chinese vehicles,” Mienie comments.“
Although I don’t think that this will happen anytime soon, this scenario is not as far-fetched as some industry commentators may think,” Mienie concludes.