Features
9 Mar 18

Daimler acquires 4% in BJEV

There’s a new piece in complex puzzle of collaborations and participations between Chinese and non-Chinese suppliers : Daimler has acquired 4% of the Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), which is itself a subsidiary of the BAIC Group.

Hubertus Troska, who leads the Daimler operations in China, says that the investment underlines the company’s commitment to the further development of electric mobility in China. Xu Heyi, Chairman of the Board at BAIC, confirms: “New Energy Vehicles are one of BAIC Group’s core business areas, and Daimler’s investment in BJEV further expands our partnership, taking the cooperation into an entirely new stage of development.”

Who is BAIC?

BAIC is a Chinese – state owned - car manufacturer that produces local brands (e.g. BJ, Senova) as well as Mercedes cars & vans and Hyundai cars. The company is also active in the production of car parts, R&D, financing and investments. It’s mother company is the Beijing Automotive Group Co., Ltd., founded in 1958 and is headquartered in Beijing, China.

What is BJEV?

BJEV is China’s biggest electric-car maker, selling over 100K units in 2017 – 23% of the total EV sales in China. In January 2018, BJEV gained a stock market listing in an asset swap, valuing the state-backed manufacturer at 28.8 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion). The objective of the listing was to raise funds & increase competitiveness, which is exactly what happened with Daimler’s investment.

And what about Geely?

Only recently it was announced that Geely was acquiring almost 10% of the Daimler shares (https://www.globalfleet.com/en/manufacturers/asia-pacific/news/chinese-geely-secures-97-daimler-ag). It’s difficult to understand how both competitors (Daimler-BAIC and Geely) will be interacting in the future; next to the investment in BJEV, Daimler and BAIC have also announced a USD 1.8 billion in modernizing a production facility for Mercedes cars. In other words, Daimler is investing in its strategic partnership with BAIC, but has not yet made its intentions clear with regards to Geely.

Geely however, is not making a secret of its plans : “it wants an alliance with Daimler, which is developing electric and self-driving vehicles and is the only German carmaker not to be controlled by a family, to respond to the challenge from new rivals such as Tesla and Uber.”

Puzzle

The EV joint venture and OEM investor puzzle has again become a bit more complex. Add to this the ongoing investments of Tencent, SoftBank & AliBaba, one might start wondering how the mobility future is going to deal with conflicting strategies.

Authored by: Yves Helven