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Good for FIAT -- MB snoozes, MB loses -- their choice.  It's not a slam or anything, just stating that if you abandon the customers, they will abandon you -- lots of choices...
I am sure that this is NOT smart authorized factory service.  I think that when I get a problem that needs to have a real dealer that I am still screwed.  I have called several mechanics including MB dealers and have been turned away from even doing my routine maintenance because smart cars are unfamiliar to them.  Finally someone that will do service.

Stephen C Hokonson said:
 
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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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?
Maybe this bears repeating - all of the frustration and anger over the lack of a smart center in MN is much better directed at the local Mercedes dealership owners.  They make the decision to carry the smart brand or not.  As independent business owners that decision is totally their call, not M-B USA.  The reason there's no smart center in MN now is because those local owners have made the decision not to carry the smart brand, so maybe some persuasion from local smart owners is in order, I don't know.  Has anyone even approached one of the M-B dealership owners to get a conversation started?   I wish there  was a smart center at our local M-B store but the owner has made it clear they have no interest in carrying the smart brand - end of story.

I'll add the owners need to have a place to be serviced, whether MN or elsewhere.  I'll agree with John in that the owners may need to show an enormous amount of support for a disinterested M-B dealership to take on servicing, stocking parts, and staff for the brand, not just those few owners that are vocal about the lack of services. How are those who are not being vocal about this issue managing the maintenence/repairs of their smarts?

Are they just selling them when the oil needs changed or other service needs are not met?  Are there any stats to support this anywhere?



jwight said:
Maybe this bears repeating - all of the frustration and anger over the lack of a smart center in MN is much better directed at the local Mercedes dealership owners.  They make the decision to carry the smart brand or not.  As independent business owners that decision is totally their call, not M-B USA.  The reason there's no smart center in MN now is because those local owners have made the decision not to carry the smart brand, so maybe some persuasion from local smart owners is in order, I don't know.  Has anyone even approached one of the M-B dealership owners to get a conversation started?   I wish there  was a smart center at our local M-B store but the owner has made it clear they have no interest in carrying the smart brand - end of story.
Jim and I personally visited Maplewood Imports, one of the Minnesota MB dealers to discuss the issue. I've followed up with e-mail and web contact.  I've had phone contact with other MB dealers.   We were told "next year" at either Sears Imports or Maplewood Imports.  I do not believe it is "TOTALLY THEIR CALL" and that corporate MB is without influence or power to make incentives appropriate for dealers to handle smart.
Sounds like good news to me - next year is better than not at all. 

Stephen C Hokonson said:


jwight said:
Maybe this bears repeating - all of the frustration and anger over the lack of a smart center in MN is much better directed at the local Mercedes dealership owners.  They make the decision to carry the smart brand or not.  As independent business owners that decision is totally their call, not M-B USA.  The reason there's no smart center in MN now is because those local owners have made the decision not to carry the smart brand, so maybe some persuasion from local smart owners is in order, I don't know.  Has anyone even approached one of the M-B dealership owners to get a conversation started?   I wish there  was a smart center at our local M-B store but the owner has made it clear they have no interest in carrying the smart brand - end of story.
Jim and I personally visited Maplewood Imports, one of the Minnesota MB dealers to discuss the issue. I've followed up with e-mail and web contact.  I've had phone contact with other MB dealers.   We were told "next year" at either Sears Imports or Maplewood Imports.  I do not believe it is "TOTALLY THEIR CALL" and that corporate MB is without influence or power to make incentives appropriate for dealers to handle smart.
I don't blame the local MB dealers... they will sell smarts if it makes good business sense.  Making it make good business sense is, or convincing the local dealers is MB USA's responsibility.  Pulling the smart dealership from a Minnesota dealer that wanted to keep it was MB USA's call.

jwight said:
Sounds like good news to me - next year is better than not at all. 

Stephen C Hokonson said:


jwight said:
Maybe this bears repeating - all of the frustration and anger over the lack of a smart center in MN is much better directed at the local Mercedes dealership owners.  They make the decision to carry the smart brand or not.  As independent business owners that decision is totally their call, not M-B USA.  The reason there's no smart center in MN now is because those local owners have made the decision not to carry the smart brand, so maybe some persuasion from local smart owners is in order, I don't know.  Has anyone even approached one of the M-B dealership owners to get a conversation started?   I wish there  was a smart center at our local M-B store but the owner has made it clear they have no interest in carrying the smart brand - end of story.
Jim and I personally visited Maplewood Imports, one of the Minnesota MB dealers to discuss the issue. I've followed up with e-mail and web contact.  I've had phone contact with other MB dealers.   We were told "next year" at either Sears Imports or Maplewood Imports.  I do not believe it is "TOTALLY THEIR CALL" and that corporate MB is without influence or power to make incentives appropriate for dealers to handle smart.
As you know, when M-B USA took over smart distribution and sales their plans did not include non-Mercedes dealers - that was their call.  However, the decision to carry the smart brand now rests with the individual Mercedes dealership owners.  This isn't like the Godfather films where M-B USA can make an owner an "offer they can't refuse."  With nationwide sales under 400 last month, it's easy to understand how some dealership owners would have trouble seeing adding the smart brand as making good business sense.
it was A plan...  It was a bit 'gappy' IMO.  They really shouldn't have dumped any where there wasn't a replacement lined up; you are right though, it was their call and they made it.  With every decision there are consequences -- both good and bad...
And in this case it was a bad decision. They should have at least had a disclaimer prominently displayed stating there would not be another dealer to replace the the one they were dumping. Lupients & MB both bear equal responsibility for that, especially MB as they knew there wouldn't be a replacement dealer anytime in the near future. Knock on wood so far I haven't had any issues with my little HAFACAR, but then again I'm still under 7K on the ODO. When & if the time comes I will look at my options then.

Sales under 400 for last month?  Hmmm, let me think... I think there were more than 5 people that asked me how I liked my little car last month.  Minnesota might be a decent place to expand their market!

 

My standard reply to inquiries from strangers is that I love my little car, but they are unavailable and unsupported in this region.

 

My wife just purchased a new Ford.  The Ford dealer was all full of questions about MY car.  I gave him a test ride.  I wish that this Ford dealer could handle the smarts - they know how to treat customers right.

 

I wish M-B would reconsider their decision and allow other dealers to handle the smart in areas where the M-B dealers have no interest.

I also add to that, when people inquire, that even in areas that currently sell & service Smarts, that could change at anytime. If the dealer in Madison, or Omaha, has a change of heart what then? MN is a prime example. There are too many other brands available to risk getting stuck with an "orphan". I love the car, but would never buy another one.

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