Smart confirms Australian return | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site

LSH Auto, a local dealer network owned by Hong Kong’s Lei Shing Hong Group, will sell electric Smart cars in its Australian Mercedes showrooms from July.

The Smart brand was dormant in Australia after Mercedes-Benz Australia stopped selling the vehicles in 2015.

Mercedes plays no official role in the new Smart operation in Australia.

Instead, Smart is being revived under an unconventional arrangement with LSH Auto and its Mercedes dealers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The new Smart cars have the same hardware as the Volvo and Polestar models built in China by parent company Geely.

In an announcement about the new model, LSH managing director John Good downplayed the Smart’s Chinese roots and described it as a “premium electric vehicle developed in Germany.”

“The addition of the Smart EV range is a natural and exciting evolution to offer customers the best premium automotive options across all available technologies,” he said.

“We know there is increasing demand for electric vehicles for urban driving in Australia… We look forward to offering a smart option to our large existing customer base and welcoming many new members to the LSH Auto family through the Smart brand.”

Smart confirmed that the Smart No. 1 hatchback and the sleeker Smart No. 3 will come to Australia, along with sporty versions bearing the Brabus badge.

Full pricing and specifications have not yet been confirmed.

However, based on the mechanically similar Volvo EX30, the two-wheel drive models are likely to cost less than $60,000 and the fully equipped four-wheel drive versions are likely to be closer to $70,000.

China’s Smart Cars, alongside new brands such as XPeng, Zeekr and Leapmotor, will seek to capitalize on the success of MG, Great Wall Motors and Build Your Dreams in Australia.

Mandy Zhang, Smart’s chief marketing officer, said the brand has big plans for global expansion.

“The Australian market has significant growth potential and we look forward to working with LSH Auto Australia as it has extensive local resources and expertise,” she said.

“Together, we want to drive the development of the intelligent Australian market for new fully electric vehicles and offer local customers a first-class mobility experience.”

Although the Chinese auto industry was once associated with low-cost cars like the $9,990 Chery J1, China is now the world leader in electric vehicle production.

The Tesla models sold in Australia are manufactured in China, as are some electric cars from European brands BMW and Volvo.

Read related topics:China

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