Geely boss and billionaire businessman Li Shufu didn’t only look at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles before buying a 10 per cent stake in Daimler. Germany’s Spiegel reports that he also considered investing in BMW.
The publication claims that Li promised he could give BMW better access to the Chinese market in exchange for the know-how to the automaker’s electric technologies. No reason has been given for why BMW rejected Li’s proposal, but the German brand has since partnered with Great Wall Motor to sell and produce electric vehicles in China, including Mini.
Ultimately, Li settled on Daimler and purchased a 9.69 per cent stake in the brand in a move worth almost $9 billion at current market prices. He is now Daimler’s largest shareholder, taking the top spot from the Kuwait Investment Authority which has a 6.8 per cent stake.
Geely is thought to have settled on Daimler to benefit from to the company’s EV technologies, as the Chinese government is requiring local manufacturers to produce an increasing number of zero-emissions cars.
However, not everyone within Daimler is sold on Li’s plans. During the Geneva Motor Show, an unnamed Mercedes-Benz executive said: “Ideally we want a win-win alliance. Handing Volvo and Geely our Mercedes technology is not win-win.”
In addition, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said that any possible technology sharing with Geely must not comprise the partnership the Germans have with China’s BAIC.