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spicejax said:

A program for owners to refer new buyers/owners would be a huge 'trackable' incentive program. Each owner would get a referral number. A info card on smart with room to place the owners name and referral number. A incentive discount on purchasing a smart for the buyer and a referral fee to the owner when the buyer buys the car.  This would give owners and buyers incentive to act and make the 'word of mouth' a real marketing tool and could be tracked by the owners ref. number. Right now there is no way to tell if someone buys a car through a owners effort or if that 'prospect' acted.

MJB

How can anyone refer a friend to a company that abandons its customers? The best thing they can do is take care of those that have spent good money on their product. Closing up shop & going "oh well......s**t happens"  & leaving owners without a viable warranty & service center does not endear one to their company. As much as I love my little Smart I can't in good conscience recommend anyone buy one.

Corky

 

 

I am more than happy to recommend the Smart to people I meet, or to friends.  MB does not have to pay me or give me any "incentive" to recommend.  The best thing MB could do IMHO is to help out the owners who have been "orphaned".  I don't expect MB to extend my warranty or anything else, but they should take care of the ones who still have warranty, but must drive 300 miles+ to get their car serviced.  They could either pay for the transportation, or contract with some other shop to do the work.  There are things they could do to greatly improve the relations with these people.  So far, here in San Antonio, TX, I am a happy camper.

The owners that are 'orphaned' but still have warranty coverage are better off than those who are 'orphaned' and are out of warranty.  Setting up mechanics to do dealer maintenance in the 'orphan' markets would be a good thing if they cannot quickly get any of the local dealers to take over the smart franchise.

There is a sign on a local Ford Dealer that reads: "we work on all makes of cars".  I called them to see if they would do service on my smart.  They said "sorry".  My neighborhood mechanic tells me the same.  The information that the mechanics require is being held as secret.

I love my car, but I understand that there is a real chance that I am going to get stranded by it.  When the AAA tow truck operator asks me where I want it towed to I won't have an answer.

Robert Newman said:

I am more than happy to recommend the Smart to people I meet, or to friends.  MB does not have to pay me or give me any "incentive" to recommend.  The best thing MB could do IMHO is to help out the owners who have been "orphaned".  I don't expect MB to extend my warranty or anything else, but they should take care of the ones who still have warranty, but must drive 300 miles+ to get their car serviced.  They could either pay for the transportation, or contract with some other shop to do the work.  There are things they could do to greatly improve the relations with these people.  So far, here in San Antonio, TX, I am a happy camper.
To be honest, there is no well thought-out plan -- at least we haven't heard one.  The BIGGEST problem is that MB REFUSES to release service information (read MANUAL) in any rational manor.  The masochistic website they provide by $ub$cription is simple a bad way of doing it.  This is the first an ONLY car I have ever owned that I couldn't buy a manual on how to do the shop service (I was actually pretty stunned to find that out.  If there were even a manual available any competent mechanic (including yourself) could do the work on it.  However MB is more concerned about losing a few service bucks (and evidently sales) than it is about supporting their customers legitimate needs.  There are several fairly easy ways of solving this problem, we are still waiting to hear on of them...

Here's what Mercedes-Benz makes available for their U.S. owners via the Internet:

http://www.startekinfo.com/StarTek/home.jsp

http://www.startekinfo.com/StarTek/html/content_overview/index.html

The initial 12 month subscription is free to U.S. owners.  At present, smart information is not included; smart USA/DVI is aware of this.

In addition, a Mercedes owner can order a STAR service DVD covering their car from any M-B dealer.  I'm not aware of a DVD for U.S. smarts but M-B USA has a system in place and adding a smart service DVD is certainly possible.

I can remember when Volkswagen was not so well accepted in America. Then along came John Muir and his book: How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-By-Step Procedu....  Volkswagens became loved and accepted as a result.

If the management at smart were actually smart they would publish a book like this one.

jwight said:

Here's what Mercedes-Benz makes available for their U.S. owners via the Internet:

http://www.startekinfo.com/StarTek/home.jsp

http://www.startekinfo.com/StarTek/html/content_overview/index.html

The initial 12 month subscription is free to U.S. owners.  At present, smart information is not included; smart USA/DVI is aware of this.

In addition, a Mercedes owner can order a STAR service DVD covering their car from any M-B dealer.  I'm not aware of a DVD for U.S. smarts but M-B USA has a system in place and adding a smart service DVD is certainly possible.

I agree with Jim! We still need a "LIKE" button to "LIKE" comments without having to post a comment. 

 

I hand an "idiot" repair manual for my old bug and could reset the timing, change the oil, and tune it up myself. What happened to good ole simple engines like that?

maybe the REAL simple days are over, but if  you had a manual you could check the procedure and decide whether a procedure was doable for you or not.  Personally I've done the timing belt in my DOHC Honda V-6 so I could do most things myself -- IF I had a manual!

Jan in West U said:

I agree with Jim! We still need a "LIKE" button to "LIKE" comments without having to post a comment. 

 

I hand an "idiot" repair manual for my old bug and could reset the timing, change the oil, and tune it up myself. What happened to good ole simple engines like that?

Guys, the smart is still a pretty simple car by today's standards. Anyone can conduct basic maintenance and reset the indicator. With a Scan Gauge or Ultra Gauge you can even read out error codes. Resetting them gets a little trickier (depending). Check out www.evilution.co.uk for a boatload of information on repairs, disassembly, re-assembly, and all kinds of mods. And of course there is this site and http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/ ... And: the transition to the mothership was poorly planned and executed, but things are picking up steam and getting better every day.

toes,  I agree. Even though the car has been here for three years the general public has no clue about the smart. We should look at it as smart is now just starting in the US and we owners got a head start. The steam is building and soon the smart 'train' will be running full steam ahead. 

 

Getting better everyday is the greater goal.

 

MJB

Yes we all advertise when we have time.  But the biggest hurdle to get over, more than size and safety, is the distribution of the car. 

 

I can get folks real excited about the car, sold on the safety and other specialized aspects of the car.  Then comes the question. "Where can I get one?"

 

When I have to tell them there is only one dealer in this state and not another until you hit Omaha they walk away.  End of discussion.  I sure hope the new guard in charge of this brand don;t fall into the trapping that smart is a "city" car and only put dealerships in Large urban areas.  

 

The smart shines then you get it opened up and can really save fuel.  You don;t notice a gas savings if your only driving around town putting on 5,000 miles a year.  You can really appreciate the savings when you put 20,000 miles a year just going back and forth to work because you live in an urban area.  Leave the pick up truck at home and only use it to haul the boat on the weekend, but enjoy the savings with the smart. 

 

The IQ can claim a higher combined MPG than the smart, but that is because the City is almost the same as the Highway, The current smart spanks the new IQ on the highway mileage. 

DAVID W GRAY said:

Tracy, thank you for listening.


At the recent Mid West Rally in Wisconsin Dells, a question was why there wasn't more advertising. I quickly responded, “Why should they? They have us!”

 

Thanks again.


Dave

interesting -- seems that some comments ether didn't get posted or were deleted...

 

simple maintenance isn't the problem, of course that's easy to take care of.  What a manual would allow you to do is handle the more complicated procedures (all the way through engine rebuilding.  450 AND 451 manuals are needed!

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