Penske Auto Group plans to transition the smart USA business to Mercedes-Benz USA

We've all seen the e-mail from Jill.  In addition, there's a little more info in the AutoWeek magazine article: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110214/CARNEWS/110219925

 

How do you feel about the upcoming changes?

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I think in the long run it will be a good thing for the brand. Security because MBUSA needs the vehicle to meet the new CAFE standards and the US was the only country where MB was not overseeing the smart brand, especially once Daimler turned the smart brand world-wide to MB.

Hopefully, MBusa will not close susai, but you might want to get all susai data backed up.

MJB

Good point - what happens to this site, safeandsmart.com, the main smart USA site, etc? M-B USA has nothing like them for current Mercedes owners (except for the Sprinter site which is separate from the M-B USA site)  I doubt we'll be seeing regular posts concerning smart from the M-B USA President and head of marketing as we have with smart USA.

spicejax said:

Hopefully, MBusa will not close susai, but you might want to get all susai data backed up.

MJB

I'm hoping that this will be a great move for smart but I'm curious what the plans are now going to be for the next generation fortwo and the coming fortwo+2 (I love that name).  Saw some interesting shots of a clay model that is rumored to be a near final design for the upcoming larger four door smart.  Check out the British mag AutoExpress for a sneak shot of the model.   With so many rumors around about a coming larger model (hopefully not too large like the not so "mini" Mini) I don't think anything can be taken for granted.  Some drawings show rear "suicide" doors - way cool - others do not.  But the clay model definitely shows the same styling character of the current car.   But now there is speculation that the four door is on hold or being scrapped entirely.  Arghh . . .  Common Jill give us a break and let us know something - anything.   Please???  Have to admit when I saw the photos of the model I thought maybe the Fiat 500 can wait a while longer.  And maybe now we might see some advertising dollars spent on some tv spots here.  That would be really great.

Best,

Sanford aka BadWolf

We all need to go to our knees and thank God that Mercedes did not halt exporting Smart to the USA...
Yes indeed; based on the past year's sales and the under 6K estimate for 2011 Mercedes could have easily bailed - except they need a 40 mpg car to get their fleet CAFE numbers up by 2016.  That's my real concern - they will only keep smart for the mpg numbers but have no real enthusiasm for the car; we'll see.  The AutoWeek article author seems pretty certain the Penske-funded Nissan Micra-based four door is canceled; the Gen 3 Daimler/Renault collaboration(s) for 2014 should still be a go.

Robert Stout said:
We all need to go to our knees and thank God that Mercedes did not halt exporting Smart to the USA...

After thinking on it I am glad to have smart as a 'official' MB brand.  They could easily do a play on the first Benz two seater and the smart. TV ad are sorely needed even though I personally dislike them.

 

Let cross our fingers and hope for the best!

 

MJB

I think this will be good for the Smart brand.  Mercedes-Benz should have been distributing the car all along here in the USA.  The car definitely needs better support and marketing.  Mercedes could add a four door model and a small wagon and use the brand as a counter-punch to BMW's Mini brand.  Everybody that rides in my car loves it.  The best comment I got last weekend was that one of my friends preferred my Smart to another friend's Mini.  Score!!!  I think Mercedes-Benz will be able to do a much better job supporting/selling Smart and aligning Mercedes/Smart dealers.

If you have any questions in the next 3 days for the smartUSA team, there is another thead for these questions:

 

http://www.smartusainsider.com/forum/topics/questionssmartusa-on-th...
i wonder if this means more mercedes dealers will carry parts and offer service. i don't like driving into the pothole strewn city when there are several MB dealers are a lot closer to home.
AutoWeek is saying there will be 300 M-B dealers selling and servicing the smart nationwide.  No list available yet but there's a good chance of a dealer being closer to you than your smart center was.

"This transition will be seamless for you. You will be serviced in your market as you are today."

 

From Jill's e-mail; this does not appear to be the case for all USA smart owners.  If your smart center is one of the ones to be closed, the transition will not be seamless and you and your car will have to find smart service in another market apparently.

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