First Volvo, now Chinese gunning for Benz

CHINESE carmaker Geely looks set to take flight with two more spectacular purchases.
It has just acquired almost 10 per cent of the shares in Daimler, making it the German company’s biggest stakeholder, and it has been given the green light to go ahead with its purchase of flying-car manufacturer Terrafugia.
Remember it was Geely bought Volvo from Ford in 2010 and that also owns Lotus, as well as the firm that builds the famous London cabs.
Observers think Geely is keen to get hold of Daimler’s work in integrating its electrification technology with self-driving cars.
Daimler’s Car2Go car-sharing is poised to grow substantially as a provider of self-driving electric vehicles.
Daimler, which counts Mercedes-Benz and Smart among its brands, also has a huge commercial vehicle arm.
While most carmakers are developing self-driving car technologies, a few are pursuing the concept of cars that can fly.
Terrafugia, founded by graduates of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, already has orders worth about $US25 million.
Its flying car, called the TF-X, can fold its wings and operate as a street-legal road vehicle.
Uber recently announced a partnership with NASA on an ambitious flying taxi project, with the first test flights tentatively scheduled for 2020 — but Geely seems determined to get its Terrafugia up and away before then.
The name is Latin for ‘escape from earth’ and with Geely’s drive, it could see the realisation of a dream that has been around since 1900.

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