Milwaukee smart center update

I stopped by my Favorite independent smart center yesterday with my trailer in tow to see what the news was from smart center Milwaukee.

The news was defiantly not good. 

AS I approached I could see an empty lot at the smart center and 2 smarts in the tower.

Next door in the former Hummer dealer, now Fiat Studio was a parking lot flooded with 500's.

I pulled up to the smart center around 12:30 on a Saturday. Building still had a smart ED in it and that was it. In the service bay was one car with service being finished up.

So here is the story. Bergstrom really would like to keep smart, but knows it is not even really up to Penske, it's MB USA's call. But that call will not be made official until June. So they canceled all incoming order mid Feb when the word came out that the independent dealers will lose the franchise.
The entire staff, Tony in sales, Kyle and Eric in Service, and Ryan the Brand Manager are all moved over to the new Fiat Studio. No one has lost a job.

Ryan is now the Studio Manager.
Tony now sells the 500's as well as the last few smarts and has some additional folks to help out.
The Service Guys were supposed to move over to the Fiat Studio and put in a little time over at the smart center taking care of customers needs.
The way it currently works is the service guys have a full schedule at the smart center and nothing to do over at Fiat. Why would anyone need service already at Fiat?

BUT

They will soon be moving next door full time and closing the doors and moving the equipment to the Fiat service Garage. They will still happily take care of our needs over there for regular Service and Extended Warranty work. They soon will no longer be able to do smart Factory service once the contract is terminated with smart USA. But they do want owners to know they will still work on the cars happily over at Fiat. 
Unfortunately the customer list is intellectual property of smart USA and therefor will be turned over to MB USA. They can not call or e-mail or write their customers to let them know that they can go next door and get service. They want to but are not allowed to.

I am sure things in Minneapolis are quite screwed up as well and with Lake Bluff being MIA for over a year now this part part of the country is really a big Void for smart. You Currently can not Buy a new smart in WI

The Folks in Milwaukee were a great bunch, they gave great customer service, They had Perfect 100% Customer satisfaction in sales and Service. The Service Pricing was Fair and never inflated. They went buy the book for recommendations and sometimes would even let you know if you didn't really need that brake fluid change at 20K if you were only 1 year into ownership, thus keeping the customers cost of ownership low.

They still want your service Business. They want to take care of the customers. They really wish they were still selling smarts side by side with the 500's. The two cars compliment each other quite well. Especially with Gas prices at $4 a gallon.

Now remember, Bergstrom is a company that goes full in and commits to the brands they pick up. They spent the money in the past for the Big Building with the Giant H, the test track, and the service lifts purpose built for Hummers.
They built a LEED Silver building for the smart brand with tiny service bays and a Tower that unfortunately only a smart would fit into, The 500's are 1.5' to long to fit into the elevator.
The Hummer building is now a Fiat studio complete with Hummer Lifts and enough room in the service bay to hold 500 and smart races. They spent the money on all the special required upgrades including Italian Tile.

It's is sad to see the smart building that was so purpose built get mothballed for no fault of the staff or Bergstrom.
Please stop by some time and say hello to the folks you have learned to trust with your cars.  I'm sure they will appreciate it

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Replies to This Discussion

Well said, Forest.   I was just there 2 weeks ago and spoke with my favorite service guys.

 

I intend to continue taking my car for service there.  Who else knows these cars inside and out like Eric and Kyle do?

 

If i have any need for warranty work, I guess I am off to Appleton.

 

I wish Kyle, Eric, Tony, and Ryan all the best in their continued roles as the best darn automotive team in WI.

 

I can't help but think that if we could get the diesel approved for use in USA there would be a much renewed interest in these lovely little cars.  There are plenty of cars that get 40-ish mpg but very few that get 60-70mpg!   Hey Penske, hey Mercedes!!  Get your heads out of the clouds and give us all a reason to buy ANOTHER smart fortwo.

 

Hell, I already have 2 of them.  One or two more will fit in my driveway with ease!

 

cheers,

 

robin850

Too bad.  Explains a few things to me though.  My custody status is changing from 50/50 with the ex to me full time, so I need to sell my smart to get something with enough room to haul my son and at least one friend.  I was willing to part with my baby with a sweet DVD video playing touchscreen navigation unit for just the dealer bluebook cost, and couldn't find a dealer to take my 11 thousand mile cabrio for even the dealer bluebook trade value...  I wasn't even trying to make money off it, just to sell it so I could get something that I need now compared to what I wanted and could get away with for the last 11 months...  

Now I know why though, evidently the dealers are tacitly announcing the death of the smart brand here in southeast wisconsin...

Too bad - they were definitely my favorite dealer I've ever dealt with - and this smart was my 12th new car in 15 years, so I certainly have experience to back up that statement!  No other dealer was as pleasant to work with, or as obviously concerned about ME and MY needs.  They were the cream of the crop there, and I'm glad at least they're still doing what they do best.

Really do try and sell that smart on the private market.

There are not a lot of them available.  Tony told me the last used smart he had in went back out the door in less than a week

Can Someone help me get to the bottom of this, I'm new to this site, so apologies for being a beginner:

F.A.O: Jill Lajdziak - President
Smart USA Distributor LLC
1765 S. Telegraph Rd.
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
1.800.smartUSA
 
Dear Jill,
 
My name is Kishen Gohil.
 
My wife (Pamela) and I purchased a Smart Car from Smart Center Bergstrom- Milwaukee just over 3 months ago after researching many small cars, and decided that this vehicle was the best for our lifestyle and budget with eager sales help from Ryan Lenfestey and Tony Westley.
 
A couple of weeks ago, we were driving past the Smart Center, only to notice with great surprise that this place had shut down completely!
 
We proceeded to try and call the dealership, finally to be forwarded to the people above who now manage Bergstrom Fiat! I asked if they would still handle our Smart Car after sales customer service - The answer was NO!
 
When we continued the enquiry as to what the situation was with reference to the Smart Center, they informed us that Mercedes Benz had decided to buy back the Smart Car business set-up under the Mercedes brand name, and to close the business dealership at the Smart Center on 30th of April (along with many others). With continued concern and shock of this information, I proceeded to ask the following questions:
 
1. Why new customers like ourselves were not informed by post or email of this news?  
2. Who/ which dealership was to handle our ongoing customer needs, servicing and warranty set-up for our Smart Car?
3. Who do I contact for further help as there was little or not information provided prior to our call about the details above?
 
They informed me that they were not able to the deal with the matter other than to say that I had to contact Smart USA to get my enquiry resolved, and why we are writing to you to help resolve our questions and concerns.
 
We would like to make it noted that we are very dissatisfied with the position we have been put in as loyal customers of Smart USA.  Not only have we been left in a position that we were not informed about the up and coming closure of  Smart centre at the time of purchasing the vehicle (which we feel is very deceptive), and which would have made us re-consider the Smart Car purchase.  Leading on from this, we have no practical means to deal with serving of our car from any conveniently located service center, and which would keep us within the car warranty terms.  Mr Westley only provided two options before saying the matter was out of his hands. One service place was based in Madison WI, and the other located in Illinois, both being and hour and half away from our home in Greenfield, and therefore not conveniently located close enough call a short drive.  They had the ability to do some simple servicing requirements of the smart Cars at Bergstrom, but no specialist equipment left, and so would not be based on the warranty rule for a new Smart Vehicle.
 
To conclude, I would like to know formally why we were not informed of the changes to Smart Car dealership arrangements? Secondly, what our options for serving and maintenance of our car are from this point forward?  Our first service is due soon and would like to have this matter resolved without any more loss our time. 
 
Sincerely,
 

Kishen and Pamela Gohil
3722 S. Bayberry Lane, Greenfield WI 53228 USA
T-USA/ +1414 327 9083 - C-USA/ + 1414 534 7377

Dear All,

To add to above:

I apologise for the letter above and making it come across as I was criticising the sale team at Bergstrom, WI.

We just purchased our Smart and were very frustrated that the moment we start driving we find out that this dealership closed with no warning to us as customers.

Tony was a great sales guy. I agree with the above comments from other people here.

Thanks,

Kishen & Pamela Gohil

First off Kishen, are you having any issues right now with the car?  Do you require Warranty Service?

 

Your regular scheduled maintenance can be completed by ANYONE including yourself.  This is not required until you hit one year or 10,000 miles. Doing regular scheduled maintenance away from a smart center does not effect your warranty. Just keep your receipts  If you chose to take this on yourself there are plenty of DIY resources available.

 

If you chose to have it done elsewhere, I would highly recommend going back to Bergstrom, and having the service guys at the Fiat Studio do the work.  These are the same service folks who moved next door and have the highest knowledge about your car in the state.  After all, they still have a thriving smart service business and not a lot to do with those Fiats yet.

Oh, and Jill will only have pull and a job with smart until mid June

Hi There,

Thanks for your comments and appreciate you clarifying what is possible.

 

Kishen & Pam

As much as I love the folks from Milwaukee, and If I lived there I would be taking my smart to the Fiat studio now.

 

But

 

The official replacement is now open in Madison.  At the moment it appears to be the only official smart dealer and more importantly only Official service center north of the IL Border.  Looks like not all MB Dealers will be able to do warranty service.

So if you live in Milwaukee, take your car to Fiat for your regularly scheduled service and if something comes up that is covered by warranty then the kind folks in the service center will let you know you have the choice of paying them to do the work, or drive to Madison to get it done under warranty. 

And remember, anyone can do work under the extended warranty if you purchased one.   

 

I also want to say, Smart center Madison has stepped up and is giving a lot of support to the Rally in the Dells this weekend.

 

i just got serviced at bergstrom's monday, they're happy to work on smarts and won't ram anything you don't want down your throat.

Hey there Marianne, Forest, James,

 

Thanks so much for helping again, that's good info to have and eases our worries.

We are enjoying our little 'bumblebee' as my Pam puts it.  we get a lot of interest by glancing admirers.

 

By the way - we drove over to Oscar's tonight 5:30 onwards - where was everyone??

 

Oh well, maybe we made a mistake.

 

Peace and well wishes....K&Px

 

Oscar's was a Gathering put together by the smart center.  Guess they will not be doing that anymore

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