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Based upon personal contact with the dealers and following the discussion here and elsewhere, it seems that Feldmann's simply won't consider the option and Sears and Maplewood don't have the reputation/support of Mercedes for good service, so the Twin Cities possibility is negative.

Dave and Stephen, thanks for applying some common sense to the discussion (again) as these points have been brought up before but fall on deaf ears.  You are absolutely correct; M-B USA can no more make an independent dealership owner carry the Sprinter van than they can make them carry the smart.  If the dealership owners choose not to carry the smart brand then the situation in MN is on them.  Not the answer some folks are looking for but it's the way the auto business world works.

Agreed, but there was a dealer up and running when MB took over, It seems that it would have made more sense to utilize them as at least a service portal until other arrangements could be made. That would have at a minimum left us with some local representation to have problems fixed instead of forcing us to haul a car across 2 states for warranty repair.

Lets say you bought a car around the end of April 2011, May of 2011 you were told that the car you just bought would have to be taken to the new dealer for service and warranty work... which is 300 miles away in each direction, and you have a problem with wind noise in the rear hatch..A simple adjustment but now you will be on the road for 5-6 hours for that simple adjustment, plus go through 2 tanks of gas. When you bought the car, you were 60 miles from the dealer. Still a drive but within reasonable distance, and it was your choice to drive that many miles. Now you have to drive MUCH further and it was not your decision to make. 

Now lets talk resale value. How willing would you be to buy a car that if something goes wrong with the motor or computer(s) or one of the many sensors requiring a trip to the dealer, will take you at least a days trip, possibly overnight?? I would say that resale prices just dropped quite a bit just because of no local service options. This was not a problem when I first looked into buying a smart. I never thought I'd have to buy a tow truck, or a car hauler to get to a dealer. 

What bothers me the most is that for months we were told that a dealer is going to be announced soon, on different occasions. Now that there won't be one, we are left high and dry, swinging in the wind.  Guess we all bought orphans...



Dave Levin said:

As I understand it, and I may not understand it very well, Mercedes does the manufacturing and some advertising...the local dealers are franchises.  As a franchise, the local dealers can decide to accept or reject the offer to handle smarts.  It may be better for the MN smart owners to go to a Mercedes dealer as a group and ask for help.  It has to make good business sense for them to carry, or just service the smarts since they have to invest in training, equipment, etc.

Just another option, rather than waiting for something to happen...

As noted elsewhere, in Minneapolis, smarts are treated like true orphans, the dealers that would take them are not allowed (I guess) because of internal reasons, the one dealer that would be allowed, doesn't want them as it competes with other lines he already handles. MB mentioned once the option of opening a repair only facility which quickly went away. The last dealer had the equipment and training but was not a MB dealer so the equipment was pulled.  Not a lot you can do without the STAR computer setup. I know of a few places that will work on them but without the computer setup... 

that would have been so simple it makes you wonder what they were [not] thinking...  I feel for you guys.  I knew going in that I'd be on my own with my 450 (NO ONE give a rats rear about us!), but with you guys it's a different deal -- when you bought the car you had support and then they pulled the rug out from underneath you.  Not too cool...

Jim VW said:

Agreed, but there was a dealer up and running when MB took over, It seems that it would have made more sense to utilize them as at least a service portal until other arrangements could be made. That would have at a minimum left us with some local representation to have problems fixed instead of forcing us to haul a car across 2 states for warranty repair.

Lets say you bought a car around the end of April 2011, May of 2011 you were told that the car you just bought would have to be taken to the new dealer for service and warranty work... which is 300 miles away in each direction, and you have a problem with wind noise in the rear hatch..A simple adjustment but now you will be on the road for 5-6 hours for that simple adjustment, plus go through 2 tanks of gas. When you bought the car, you were 60 miles from the dealer. Still a drive but within reasonable distance, and it was your choice to drive that many miles. Now you have to drive MUCH further and it was not your decision to make. 

Now lets talk resale value. How willing would you be to buy a car that if something goes wrong with the motor or computer(s) or one of the many sensors requiring a trip to the dealer, will take you at least a days trip, possibly overnight?? I would say that resale prices just dropped quite a bit just because of no local service options. This was not a problem when I first looked into buying a smart. I never thought I'd have to buy a tow truck, or a car hauler to get to a dealer. 

What bothers me the most is that for months we were told that a dealer is going to be announced soon, on different occasions. Now that there won't be one, we are left high and dry, swinging in the wind.  Guess we all bought orphans...

Here’s thought. Yesterday a local reporter stopped by to ask me about what I thought about the drilling for gas on the St. Vrain State Park property for which I’m work camping on. In a nutshell, I told him as long as the river below the drilling site is protected from any runoff, “drill baby dill.” Then he looked over at my smart and then back at me and said that was an interesting comment since I have a smart.

I didn’t buy the smart because I was some kind of environmentalist wacko extremist who thinks drilling oil wells in our backyard will destroy our lifestyle or the wildlife.

As fulltime RVer, the choice for purchasing a smart is a smart choice. The smart is the smallest and lightest car available that can be carried in some RVs or on some trucks that tow 5th wheel trailers. I’m discussing this because for us fulltime RVers who own smarts don’t have the inconvenience that others do when it comes to maintenance. We fulltime RVers can simply pack up and go.

I say all that to say this: I’ve been somewhat lobbying one RV manufacturer to design some RVs with the exclusive capability of carrying a smart inside. This could be a great niche market for smart and RV manufacturers. Now getting others in the industry to share the same vision as I is another story.

I have seen a few motorhomes with space for motorcycles in the back, sort of a garage type arrangement  that might work with a smart. At the time  smarts weren't readily available in the USA 


James LeCuyer said:

Mercedes has til this spring to open a damn dealer in the Minneapolis MN or Im getting rid of both of mine. They require the Mercedes computer programmers and none of the Minneapolis Mercedes dealers will touch them!!! I bought both of mine just before Mercedes pulled the plug on the Lupient dealer here in Brooklyn Park. They need to get it done or lose the battle in Minneapolis to Fiat and Toyota!!!! I now own 2 cars with no warranty and no place to even pay to have them fixed!! Sorry needed to vent.....





I know where you're coming from James, I've had those feelings since last May when Lupients bailed. I bought mine at the end of April & the last thing the sales lady said when I left was: "see you in a year for your first service". 3 weeks later she's gone & a week later Lupient drops Smart. A month later some suit from MB assures all the MN Smart owners that we'll have a new dealer in just a few weeks.......wrong.
A lot of "experts" claim there's nothing MB can do as they can't force a franchisee to take on Smart.......correct, but it was MB's decision to allow only MB franchisee's to sell & service these things. I place this mess squareley on the shoulders of MB, & to some extent Lupients for withholding the info that my new cars value was going to be severely degraded in 3 weeks time. As far as I'm concerned we've bought the modern day eqivalent of a Yugo.
I'm not in the position now to haul this mistake to another market & dump it, so I guess I'm stuck. All I can do is spread the word to other Smart markets, that are still functional, to avoid this brand at all costs.

Best thing we can do is act as a unit and get the word out. Should be an interesting Rally this summer... I do think there is something MB can do with authorizing an independent service site, The dealership was taken away from Lupient, not by their choice. I think Lupient is also a victim here.

With almost 3 years, and 64K miles, I am long past warranty but I still need parts and service if things go wrong. Still love the car and my only concern wouldbe the amount of miles I put on, things are bound to wear out. I may need a diagnostics and with no computers available, I am in a bad situation.

I still you should send those emails to "whistleblower"

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/Whistleblower.html

A little adverse publicity might rattle their cages. If nothing else it might sway someone to buy their next car from a reputable manufacturer.



Jim VW said:

Best thing we can do is act as a unit and get the word out. Should be an interesting Rally this summer... I do think there is something MB can do with authorizing an independent service site, The dealership was taken away from Lupient, not by their choice. I think Lupient is also a victim here.

With almost 3 years, and 64K miles, I am long past warranty but I still need parts and service if things go wrong. Still love the car and my only concern wouldbe the amount of miles I put on, things are bound to wear out. I may need a diagnostics and with no computers available, I am in a bad situation.

Thing is -- you could work on it yourself... IF YOU HAD A MANUAL!!!  So, we see MB had made ever effort to cut off your ability to have and keep your smart running!.  If they aren't going to support it in a given market, get an authorized agent to, if no authorized agent, then make a manual available so you can get it serviced by an independent or do it yourself.  But above all put the customer's needs FIRST!

Jim VW said:

Best thing we can do is act as a unit and get the word out. Should be an interesting Rally this summer... I do think there is something MB can do with authorizing an independent service site, The dealership was taken away from Lupient, not by their choice. I think Lupient is also a victim here.

With almost 3 years, and 64K miles, I am long past warranty but I still need parts and service if things go wrong. Still love the car and my only concern wouldbe the amount of miles I put on, things are bound to wear out. I may need a diagnostics and with no computers available, I am in a bad situation.
The article written last summer was by Scott Seroka.... That's all I am willing to divulge right now... (evil smile)

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