On our way to the Outer Banks of NC we planned on stopping at Myrtle Beach for 1 night. We did. Unhooked the Smartie from the motor home and to our chagrin the car wouldn't go into gear. Called Smart Roadside Assistance and they towed the car to Charleston, SC. They had the car for 4 days. The problem: the clutch was in 20 pieces. Smart USA had no idea how it happened. Bottom line: Smart replaced the clutch at no cost to me. Has anyone had any problems with the clutch. By the way, the car now shifts more smoothly than when we first picked it up in June. We now have 3500 miles on it. It also tows beautifully behind our small motor home.
Larry- What year is your smart? My 2008 had it's clutch replaced at around 9500 miles. The shifter moved back and forth but couldn't select reverse or drive. The reason was the clutch slipping and thus it wasn't sending a signal to the shifter that it was in gear. The original clutch has been superceded by a newer design which I believe has been installed in the 2009s. At the time mine went out the replacements were back ordered but are now available.
The car shifts more smoothly now but it could be the new clutch design or just a clutch that is working full time.
I just got my 2008 car back last weekend with 17600 miles I had to have the clutch replaced. It was the same thing that Jim said, I could move the shifter but would not engage. The dealership also did the transmission software upgrade, replaced the battery, and FINALLY (I hope) fixed my back window by putting in a whole new latch. (I love being able to put stuff in the back now).
The car drives better then ever, does not have the jerky stalling feeling at low speeds.
All done under warrenty also
Jim & Kim: My Smart is a 2009. It had 7 miles on the odometer. Since the clutch has been replaced the car runs smoother and shifts easier. So far no problems with the transmission or any other problems. Could it possibly be that Smart is having these problems and so they are not advertising? I find it strange that I see no ads. Oh, well.
Larry: I think it has more to do with either not really putting forth a budget for marketing, or not really feeling like starting TV advertising, than with shame due to complications. Don't think i've ever seen a commercial for a Lotus dealership, and there's one a few dozen miles away from my house (Really think about goin there sometimes.... LOVE Lotus's). Also don't really remember seeing very many, if any, Land Rover commercials lately. Even Archos, a company that makes portable mp3/video players (which i believe stomp iPods to dust), has ZERO advertising in the states.... because i believe they're a French-based company, and they don't have a marketing budget for over here.
Like Jim said... Smart is probably relying more on owners of cars spreading the word about the car, or free advertising (i.e. news crews) to spread the word.
smart has actually issued statements on this. They may advertise in the future but theor original plan was to rely on pent up demand and word of mouth. "Buzz" , not ads. Ads reach two knids of consumers- Those that know about the product but need their buying decision re-inforced and those that don't know about the product and may be influenced to look into it. The first group has known about the smart for years. The second group can be reached thru buzz, product placement (Pink Panther, Pink Panther II), news stories, and seeing the cars on the road. When the first year's total allotment was sold almost a year in advance ads didn't make much sense.
That makes sense. I first heard about Smart cars from a cover article in Motor Home magazine. Also more from my nephew who is sales manager for a Mercedes dealership in Augusta, GA. At the time, about 2 years ago, he told me that only major metro areas would even carry the Smart. I couldn't understand why since the Smart would be great for kids in college or for anyone who just wanted to "scooter-poot" around town like a road ready golf cart.
Starting a national sales and service organization basically from scratch is a huge undetaking. The majority of Mercedes dealers passed on adding a smart center. Couple that with a limit on the number avaialble for the US (smarts are sold in over 30 countries) and adding too many dealers in small population centers just isn't feasible.
While college students are a perfect target group for the smart so is almost everyone else. Having a dealer close to a college isn't as important as having cars that people can buy. Last year that wasn't the case. Most dealer lots were empty except for pre-sold cars awaiting customer delivery.