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SMART cars, driven this time around by electric power, will be sold in three states of Australia following the formation of a joint venture to import the brand here.

Leading Mercedes-Benz retail group LSH Auto and smart Automobile Co have formed a joint venture along with Mercedes-Benz AG and Geely Holding Group to import a range of new smart EVs to be sold as “German-designed and engineered premium electric vehicles” to Australian consumers.

In an initiative designed to tap into what is being seen as a growing market for urban electric vehicles, the new smart #1 and smart #3 will be offered along with a high performance Brabus version of each. They will be five-door vehicles with a range of up to 440km. The venture partners said in a statement that they “will offer premium, trendsetting, spacious five door, highly-flexible electric motoring that is sure to introduce even more Australians to EV mobility”. 

“All with the quality and assuredness that comes from the cooperation of the world’s leading luxury automobile brand (Mercedes-Benz) and a world leader in EV manufacture (Geely),” the partners said.

Petrol IC versions of smart vehicles were sold in Australia from 2003 to 2015 including the ForTwo hatch, ForFour hatch and the Roadster. 

As part of the arrangement, smart Automobile Co has established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Australia to manage sales of its premium all-electric vehicle and after-sales service together with what it called “a comprehensive selection of offerings”. 

From left, Victor Dong Global CFO smart automobile, Mandy Zhang Global CMO smart Automobile, XiangbeiTong Global CEO smart Automobile, John Good Managing Director LSH Auto Australia and Michael Low LSH Auto Australia.

The company said that the move was part of its global business expansion in 2024 and marked the brand’s EV market debut in the region. 

Under the arrangement, LSH Auto Australia will be the sole retailer of the new smart range. The car will be sold from LSH’s Mercedes showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The LSH dealerships are located within the prime locations of their current Mercedes-Benz retail outlets including the company’s five story Lifestyle precinct at Breakfast Creek, Brisbane.

The statement said: “The addition of the smart range to the LSH Auto Australia offering will provide an ideal entry to premium EV motoring for both existing customers and those looking to add an EV to their mobility options. 

“With models full of high-tech and safety features, a range of up to 440km from a single charge, and an entry price expected to be highly competitive with current non-premium EV offerings of similar size, the new smart models are sure to be popular.”

The partners said the full specifications and pricing will be announced in June along with a smart Australia website through which potential buyers can register their interest. It is expected that orders will open in July for customer deliveries starting in September. 

A “comprehensive consumer promotion” and information and engagement campaign will launch soon. Display cars will be available for viewing at dealerships and other locations from August.

Smart Automobile Global CMO and LSH Auto Australia Managing Director John Good

LSH Auto Australia managing director, John Good said in a statement: “The addition of the smart EV range is a natural and exciting progression in offering customers the best premium motoring options across all available technologies. 

“We know there is a growing Australian demand for urban EV motoring. The opportunity presented by a German-designed premium EV was a perfect fit with our focus on delivering excellence at all levels. 

“We look forward to providing a smart option to our substantial existing customer base and to welcoming many new members to the LSH Auto family through the smart brand.”  

Global Chief Marketing Officer for smart Automobile Co, Mandy Zhang said in a statement: “It is clear that increasing numbers of Australians are drawn to the advantages of EV mobility. 

“Entering a growing market with a premium product, presented by a premium partner, is the best possible outcome. We are confident the new smart range will connect with Australian EV needs, and that LSH Auto Australia will add a customer experience that will make the overall proposition extremely attractive.”

By John Mellor

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