We've started this discussion forum to create a space for smartUSAinsiders to share with us at smart your thoughts, comments, questions and ideas.
We can’t promise you that everything will be answered all the time but what we can promise is that everything will be seen and we will address as much as we can.
We are looking forward to your thoughts, comments, questions and ideas - open your mind...
You are going to need to do a lot of Damage control in the Minneapolis area.
In case yall forgot, the car only has a 2 year warranty. Now you are talking about maybe filling that gap in 6 more months. That is a 1/4 of the warranty period.
And just telling folks with issues to drive over 300 miles for simple warranty work will leave a bad taste that will take years to brush out.
Do like M-B Canada did: offer the same warranty as the M-B cars you sell, and offer lots of special editions. Canada got the 450 grandstyle, 450 BRABUS nightrun, 450 BRABUS Tailor-Made Canada 1 in two years and the 451 Limited 1, Limited 3, greystyle, BRABUS (in all model years), highstyle, and more.
The USA got what, one year of BRABUS?
Canada used to get the pulse model in the 450 too. That would be nice to have in the 451. Also, the turbocharged gasoline engine would be perfect for North America.
You should offer BRABUS Tailor-Made cars. Spec order a few and send them to key dealers, it would raise the brand profile. Bring in something like the Ultimate 112 on special order.
Look at the highest selling dealers in Canada, learn from them.
100 Dealers would lead one to think that there will be 2 dealers in every state. Since some states don't have a dealer at this time I'm pretty sure that won't be the case. I believe that as you place the next 25 dealers that you need to be sure that each state has at least one dealer and I'd like to see you work towards two dealers in each state.
No one should have to drive 200 miles to get warranty service, even 100 miles is asking alot of smart owners. That is just wrong and it's hurting the smart reputation and I'm guessing sales. I'm lucky in that my dealer is fairly close to us but many are not.
Yesterday another local smart owner and I went to Maplewood Imports (St. Paul MB dealer) to offer our support, question intentions, and promote a smart dealership for Minnesota. They listened politely and said that either Sears or Maplewood might end up with a dealership, but not before the first of next year. Numerous issues/problems were cited including: recent MB local upgrades, the need for space, additional service techs, training, the "down economy," the lack of a USA "future" for smart, and the bottom line that a smart dealership may not be their wisest investment. We left the upbeat article about smart incentives, advertising intentions, and 1.5% dealer incentive. We were encouraged to have owners contact the local dealer managers with our concerns.
To be without any dealer in Minnesota is intolerable. MB simply must offer more to the local dealerships!
First, thanks for the feedback from the Mothership. Keep that coming, if nothing more than routine status updates.
Issues of concern to current and future smart owners (IMHO):
- Distance to servicing dealership (200 miles is a sales killer.)
- Warranty period (will expand to 3/36 for 2012, but why not the same as other M-B cars?)
- Parts availability (new parts depots should help but any M-B dealer should be able to order smart parts.)
- Incentives (not much profit margin in the 451 fortwo but how about free routine service for the warranty period, a la BMW?)
- More dealer involvement in owner events (some dealers are great at this, others seem totally uninterested. smart owners are passionate about the car and expect the same from the dealers.)
- Expand the dealer offerings of optional parts, accessories and clothing (go to North American sizes for this market.)
In addition, how about a smart USA-sponsored National gathering (Montvale, NJ headquarters?) as well as a joint USA/Canada smart event (Niagara Falls area?)
Again, thanks for the feedback and opening up the discussion.
The above reference video/article was super. The option for a follow-up by the same owner/reporter is possible. Furthermore, there are other local media contacts that may be interested in the incredible lack of smart service/dealers in Minnesota for all the Minnesota owners who now travel to Madison, Wisconsin for sales and service. The promise of a "seamless transition" and dealerships that are "weeks away" from procurement are documented MB promises since February 2011. We don't want to "go negative" on a car we love, and just being "used" to meet CAFE standards may make a eye catching MB headline, but as owners we are disgusted.
The above reference video/article was super. The option for a follow-up by the same owner/reporter is possible. Furthermore, there are other local media contacts that may be interested in the incredible lack of smart service/dealers in Minnesota for all the Minnesota owners who now travel to Madison, Wisconsin for sales and service. The promise of a "seamless transition" and dealerships that are "weeks away" from procurement are documented MB promises since February 2011. We don't want to "go negative" on a car we love, but just being "used" to meet CAFE standards may make a eye catching MB headline, but as owners we are disgusted.
Tracey. Existing owners were the most fervent promoters of the 4-2. But now, with MB/Penske's lack of support for owners with real problems, I for one can no longer recommend this car.
It's way past time to take care of those "crazed" roofs and faulty clutches that plague the Smart car. Make those owners who are stuck with these cars whole again.
Sooner or later MB will have to do a real recall on these problems, why not fix them NOW and start out on the right foot. A2Jack