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.

Tags: Dealerships, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Views: 112

Replies to This Discussion

I cannot believe that this is happening!!!  I bought my car there on Feb 28th and they didn't tell me at all that this was going on.  I am so angry right now and I will get a lawyer tomorrow to sue the hell out of them for falsely selling me a car with an extended warranty when they knowingly knew they were closing.  Am I the only angry person out there in Smart land???  I deserve an explanation and an alternative for service calls or they will get my car back with a huge lawsuit too.  I am calling Smart headquarters tomorrow and I'm threatening to sue!

 

Your extended warranty is valid anywhere.  It is the first 24,000 miles or two years you have to worry about.  By the end of June we should be able to get standard warranty service, if needed, at any Mercedes Benz dealer in the country.  

 

But we are still waiting for all the details to be ironed out.  And if you had done any research about the smart around mid feb the press was all over the impending changes. 

I was unaware and the dealership never said anything as to the reason that this has happened.  They acted as if they were going to be in business for a long time.  I need an explanation from them because I am pissed off!

They still can't really say anything.  It is out of there hands.  You will be supported.  They can take care of you over at Fiat.  The same team has just moved next door.

 At the point they sold you a smart they still had hope that all the time and money put into that dearlership would have some weight with smart USA.  But it is outside Penske's hands

 

If your looking for an explanation from them then you need to go into the Fiat Studio and speak to Ryan.  They are contractually unable to contact you.

how do you know so much Forest???  I would like to know?  Will they honor my extended warranty??  How come the dealership hasn't sent anything out concerning their customers and their dealership????  I just want the truth!!!

 

The customer list is the intellectual property of smart USA, not Bergstrom.  They can not contact you.  If they did they could be sued. 

 

The extended warranty is a third party warranty.  

 

At the end of Feb My Fuel pump died in Madison.  We thought it would have to be put on a flatbed and sent all the way to Milwaukee.  My Roadside assistance from my insurance company balked a little and made a few calls.  They found out the MB dealer in Madison would fix it.  I called Smart Milwaukee and got the Phone number for the Warranty (because I keep crappy records and I have them in my phone) and gave it to the dealer in Madison.  All was taken care of for me.  And this was before the MB dealer knew anything about the future transition.  

 

Anyone can service your car.  Any one can Honor your extended warranty.  And unless you plan on having a standard warranty issue in the next 2 months your all good.  Mercedes Benz USA will be taking full control at the end of June.  At that time we should get a nice list of all the NEW Places in the state where we can purchase and get warranty service. 

But if you just want the best bargain for your money when you hit that 10K or 1 year service, stick with Eric and Kyle.  They know these cars better than anyone else in the Region, not just the state.  100% Customer satisfaction for the past 2 year.  Best in the country.  Thats why it is such a loss and not there fault. 

:-(  I am really sorry to see this happen;  I loved Smart Center Milwaukee!!  Thank you for posting.  I would really rather stick with Eric and Kyle for servicing.
I agree with Nexus, I am sorry to see this happen.  My wife and I and my daughter both have 2009 Smart's and love them as well as the people @ SmartCar Milwaukee.  I am glad to hear they will be keeping their jobs with times being what they are.  Any suggestions what to do with my blower motor that quits working?  I have a couple months left on the factory warranty..............
Have you given them a call about that blower motor?

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