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Had my 2008 cabrio get stuck in "Park,", yellow triangle and ABS lit up and no brake-lights, indications of a non-functioning brake light switch.  Called "smart of South Charlotte" at 7:00a.m. Monday.  Explained problem to service adviser, told there was an opening at 8:45a.m.  Unstuck the shift lever and drove her in with wife following for safety (no brake lights, had to turn on the parking lights when stopping).

Left the car, was told I'd be called as soon as it's done.  I got the car there slightly before 8:30a.m.  No calls, so at 3:15p.m., I phoned adviser, got his voice-mail and left a message.  3:30p.m. and still no call, so I called again.  He answered this time, "Oh, I was just reaching for the phone to call you. The part is on back-order from Germany and will take 5 to 7 working days to arrive.  We couldn't find one around here."

I wonder why it takes 7 hours to discover a part is not in stock and I have to call to find this out.  I also can't believe that this oft-failing part is not kept in stock at a very large Mercedes/smart dealer and is not available anywhere in North America.  I also wonder why a failed brake light switch has to disable the car.  I know now how to unlock the shift-lever, but if my wife was using the car, she'd be stuck somewhere.

 Had my smart for a year now, was satisfied with its operation, and now I feel like I've had a bucket of cold water dumped on my head.  I asked about a loaner, and the curt reply was, "Not for smarts."  I drove her home, as there is no way I can do without a car for a week or 2.  Have to limit it to daytime only and use the parking lights to signal a stop.  Will be interesting to see how long it actually takes for the part to arrive.

I am a member, Dave.  A "blue" member -- "b322da."  The first thing I did was scan, if not read in detail followed by indexing, hundreds of threads there, and on Evilution.  Most helpful, both.
Tks much,

Jim

Dave Levin said:

Jim,

Consider joining another forum, smart car of america.

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com

 

This forum discusses in detail some of the concerns you have and provides alternative sourcing for spare tires, emergency kits (tools needed to change the tire since none come with the car.  The parts situation will be less than great for a while, until sales increase.  Until then, I would STRONGLY recommend calling before going to pick up any part for the smart.

 

Dave

Jim,

One suggestion on SCoA is to post a question-to-the-members or send one of the moderators (2 of us frequent this site, too) a PM and see if we can help.  Are you looking for a replacement now that matches the other three?


Jim Brown said:

I am a member, Dave.  A "blue" member -- "b322da."  The first thing I did was scan, if not read in detail followed by indexing, hundreds of threads there, and on Evilution.  Most helpful, both.
Tks much,

Jim



Ken Janulewicz said:

 

..... Had my smart for a year now, was satisfied with its operation, and now I feel like I've had a bucket of cold water dumped on my head.  

 

 

Corky said:      Thats exactly how I feel Ken, drove 125 miles to purchase a brand new car, complete with warranty, only to find out I have to drive an extra 200+ miles to to take advantage of my new car warranty or for service. Apparently MB's primary concern is hawking as many of these things as they can & the hell with after purchase care. I advise anyone that asks to stay as far away from the smatcar as you can. If your dealer decides to fold you'll be stuck with an orphan & as far as MB is concerned thats your tough luck. I love the car but I'll never buy another.

I have posted questions on SCoA, and have always received quick, courteous and responsive replies.  Just to avoid any misunderstanding, if I had had the time I am confident I would have been able to track down another stock wheel from a SCoA member.  In fact when I commenced my voyage to Houston which started all this there were indeed stock wheels offered for sale on SCoA -- but a long way from Texas.  A front one like I needed was available for $85.  My problem, however, was that I needed one right away. I must admit that my problem was somewhat unique, but, on the other hand, I really think it was not unreasonable to expect to find one at one of the only two dealers in the fourth largest city in the United States -- the largest city in Texas. I am experienced enough in the automobile business to know that salesmen do not invent happy customers and repeat business.  Service does.  And I consider reasonable availability of spare parts to be a part of service.  As I said earlier, I love my little smart, but I would find it difficult to recommend the purchase of one to a friend or family member unless they have money and time to burn and better than average mechanical ability.   

 

Honestly, I left the dealer where I purchased my car feeling like to them I was just an irritant, taking their time and attention away from the profitable business of dealing with the typical MB owner/driver/purchaser.  This does not encourage repeat business.  I must apologize if I have come across as too sensitive here, but when I received my new binder from my auto insurance company I saw that my smart was the 28th car I had put on that policy through the years.  I have never before felt like I was an irritant to those from whom I purchased the car.  I could afford the extra money needed to purchase the fancy $300+ wheel.  That is not the problem.  I know that I will be able to get a matching wheel from somewhere through SCoA after things settle down a while, thereby eating the purchase price of the fancy wheel.

 

It is just that I like my smart so much that this incident, and others related here and on SCoA, have given me real concern about the future of the smart car and my investment in one.  I can handle the loss of the $300 -- I worry about the some $15,000 I paid for the car, and I only hope higher management which might also be interested in the future of the car, if any, wakes up.  When I read the latest data on sales of the smart on SCoA, even though an ad campaign of sorts has begun, it appears to me that I may just be talking to myself here.

 

Tks much for your kind attention, and tks in particular for the service you provide in SCoA.  That we smart owners are so dependent on the service you and others provide there is directly relatable to the lack of attention we receive from MB.  We have to deal with so much ourselves rather than drive around the block to the dealer.

 

Jim 

GetSmrt28277 said:

Jim,

One suggestion on SCoA is to post a question-to-the-members or send one of the moderators (2 of us frequent this site, too) a PM and see if we can help.  Are you looking for a replacement now that matches the other three?


Jim Brown said:

I am a member, Dave.  A "blue" member -- "b322da."  The first thing I did was scan, if not read in detail followed by indexing, hundreds of threads there, and on Evilution.  Most helpful, both.
Tks much,

Jim

to be honest, there has been parts stocking problems from day one.  Lot's of folks have had to wait weeks sometimes for parts that really should have been stocked.  There should be at least a big room somewhere that has one of everything, and more than one of most things.
I wonder if there's a smart wholesaler in Germany.  Probably not, as the dealers seem to have a lock on parts.....I mean ordering parts when needed.  I see a good business opportunity for someone with the bucks in the U.S. if they could get the parts somewhere and stock them here.  Maybe not every part, but at least the most commonly needed ones.  #1 on the list would be the brake-light switch IMO.
There are several aftermarket parts sources in the UK, Canada and Germany, as well as Smart Madness in California. They all have built in delays for parts not in stock or shipped from overseas.   The parts supply problem was discussed by prospective owners as far back as 2007 - hoping smart USA would be able to avoid it.  They weren't, and it seems DVI hasn't broken the code yet either.  Supposedly M-B USA was establishing 5 regional parts centers for the smart - no idea where that stands.  Worst case, for something that disables the car, overnighting the parts via FedEx or DHL should be the default IMHO.  If that is impossible for some reason, a loaner car should again be the default IMHO.  Leaving an owner stranded is just not acceptable.
I wanted to buy two new 17" Brabus wheels to put on the front of my Brabus coupe.  I checked on used, but could not find any to my liking.  I talked to Smart Madness and they wanted $750 each for low mileage take offs with used tires.  I called my local dealer, was quoted $630 each for new.  I went in, paid for them and they arrived the next morning.  I did not expect them to stock a limited need part, but was totally pleased with next day delivery.

I finally found dealerships in Minnesota that will service my smart.

The new Minnesota Fiat dealerships are advertising (in direct mail) that they will service my smart and let me play with a loaner car (Fiat 500) while my car is being worked on. 

I will be taking them up on this deal in the former Bloomington smart center (now Fiat Studio).

 
Jim G's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: St. Paul, MN
Drive: Cabrio
Posts: 135
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Finally, a dealership in the Twin Cities that will service the smarts!

"I just received a coupon in the mail that is soliciting me to get the oil changed in my smart! Woohoo! Finally! this is what I have been waiting for!

The dealership is Luther Fiat. The coupon says they can service my smart and winterize it for $9.95. They will also let me play around with a loaner Fiat 500 while I am waiting for service."
If this is smart authorized service for the Minnesota customers, why don't we get the info from smart rather than Fiat?


Stephen C Hokonson said:
 
Jim G's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: St. Paul, MN
Drive: Cabrio
Posts: 135
Thanks: 138
Thanked 25 Times in 21 Posts
Finally, a dealership in the Twin Cities that will service the smarts!

"I just received a coupon in the mail that is soliciting me to get the oil changed in my smart! Woohoo! Finally! this is what I have been waiting for!

The dealership is Luther Fiat. The coupon says they can service my smart and winterize it for $9.95. They will also let me play around with a loaner Fiat 500 while I am waiting for service."
If this is smart authorized service for the Minnesota customers, why don't we get the info from smart rather than Fiat?
I think this is just a Smart (pun intended) marketing ploy by Luther Fiat. They know Smart has dropped the ball & a lot of Smart owners would like to dump their cars for one that's more viable. So, reel them in with a cheap service, let them play with a replacement car & you might have a sale. 

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