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 remained dormant in Australia after Mercedes-Benz Australia stopped selling the vehicles in 2015.

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

Instead, Smart will be revived in an unconventional deal with LSH Auto and its Mercedes-branded dealerships in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The new Smart cars share hardware with Volvo and Polestar models built in China by parent company Geely.

LSH chief executive John Good downplayed the Smart’s Chinese roots in an announcement about the new model, describing it as a “German-designed premium EV”.

“The addition of the smart electric vehicle range represents a natural and exciting progression in offering customers the best premium automotive options across all available technologies,” he said.

“We know there is growing Australian demand for urban electric vehicles… We look forward to providing a smart option to our strong existing customer base and welcoming many new members to the LSH Auto family through the Smart brand.”

Smart has confirmed the sedan-like Smart #1 models and more stylish Smart #3 models will arrive in Australia, along with sporty spin-offs wearing Brabus badging.

Full pricing and specifications have not been confirmed.

But if the mechanically similar Volvo EX30 is any indication, expect two-wheel-drive models to come in at under $60,000 and fully loaded all-wheel-drive versions to approach $70,000.

Chinese Smart cars will join new brands such as XPeng, Zeekr and Leapmotor in a bid to capitalize on the success of MG, Great Wall Motors and Build Your Dreams in Australia.

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

Volvo's EX30 breaks all the rules

“The Australian market has significant growth potential and, with LSH Auto Australia’s extensive resources and local expertise, we are excited to join forces,” he said.

“Together, we aim to advance the development of the Australian market for new intelligent and fully electric electric vehicles and deliver a premium mobility experience to local customers.”

While China’s auto industry was once associated with cut-price cars like the $9,990 Chery J1, China is now a world leader in the production of electric vehicles.

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

Read related topics:China

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