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1ST LEAD China's Geely says it has 'long-term commitment' in Sweden, Germany By Niko Esch and Lennart Simonsson, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Stuttgart (dpa) - The China-based owner of Swedish carmaker Volvo has a long-term commitment to the brand, a Swedish cabinet member said Saturday, the day after Geely made a large investment in Germany‘s Daimler - a rival luxury car maker.

"Li confirmed that they have bought into Daimler, but he said that it would not reduce his commitment in Sweden," Mikael Damberg, minister of enterprise, said after meeting with Geely chief Li Shufu.

Damberg told Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet that Li had requested Saturday‘s meeting in Stockholm, the Swedish capital.

"My main message to Geely is that I expect they will continue to invest in and work for a future in Sweden," Damberg added, according to the daily.

Geely on Friday became the biggest shareholder in Germany‘s Daimler after acquiring nearly 10 per cent of the luxury car firm‘s shares.

Li earlier made similar statements of a long-term investment in the German group.

The Geely chief said earlier Saturday that he was "particularly pleased to accompany Daimler on its way to becoming the world‘s leading electro-mobility provider."

It was revealed on Friday that the billionaire had in recent weeks accumulated about 9.7 per cent of Daimler‘s shares, rapidly becoming its largest shareholder.

The acquisition is the biggest investment in a major vehicle manufacturer by a Chinese firm, according to financial newswire Bloomberg.

Geely is also the owner of Volvo Cars. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group took over Volvo Cars in 2010 from US automotive giant Ford.

Volvo announced last year that none of its new models from 2019 will have simple combustion engines, but will be powered at least partly by electricity and other sources.

Late last year, Geely announced it was buying a stake in the Volvo Group that makes trucks and other heavy vehicles. The Volvo Group sold off the car division in 1999.

Li said on Saturday that it had no plans to purchase more of Daimler‘s shares.

"The competitors which technologically challenge the global car industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today," Li said.

Traditional car manufacturers are trying to avoid being left behind by the advances in electric cars, such as those pioneered by Tesla, and self-driving cars, such as Google‘s Waymo and many others in development.

Li described such firms as "invaders from outside."


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