Reserved 20 May 07
Visited dealership and asked to be on orphan list Jan 08.
Configured 1 March 08.
Estimated Date of Delivery Nov 07 - Jan 08.
Wrote a letter and mailed off 5 copies to 5 addresses on 6 April 08 to Roger Penske.
Adopted an orphan 19 April 08 and took delivery 21 April 08 with dealer added options of pin striping, window tint and LoJack.
Last week got a FedEx pkg letter from Dave Schembri.

The rest of the story:
I have wrestled with the pros and cons of being a smart car owner. In the beginning it was the long wait. I was thrilled when we finally got to configure in March. Then to only find out that our wait was still the better part of the year since at that time my DDE was Dec 08 – Feb 09. We were in Dallas on 19 April and had planned to stop by the smart car dealership. There was an orphan available and Allison was on her way to call someone else about it when she saw us in the showroom. She asked her manager if she could offer it to us. So I was suddenly faced with making a choice.

A. I could wait another 8 to 10 months and continue to feed my current gas hog. Then I could get the car I configured with the options I wanted without paying anything extra.
B. I could continue to wait and hope that another orphan would become available closer to the one I configured. Meanwhile hope that they would contact me and pass me over. There’s no guarantee with orphans and they could add more options as time goes on.
C. Jump on the orphan being offered then and there with the additional options. A bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush.

During this time I’ve been on the forums and know people with reservations much later than myself have been taking delivery already. Location, location, location. To make matters worse to know there were people who simply walked into their local dealership and drove off same day with an orphan. The terms frustration and irritation come to mind but those even seemed mild. And on that Saturday I was faced with the excitement that I could own one now.

It’s been two months now and I wonder if karma was coming into play. Was I somehow being punished for my lack of patience? My alarm was malfunctioning and going off randomly. It took 3 visits to the dealership to rectify the situation and fix it. The last of which was about a week. Then on a trip to Louisiana I went to close my rear hatch and it wouldn’t latch. With duck tape holding it close we made the trip back to Dallas and to the dealership. I was told that it was probably my fault for trying to close it when it was locked. On the trip back the a/c froze up or something and stopped blowing cold air. So while it was in being fixed for the latch I asked them to check the a/c also. Our next trip was to Gulfport, MS. While returning and on a backwoods two lane country road with nothing in front of us, my front windshield was hit by something and broke. Seems it will take 4 to 5 weeks to get a windshield in to fix it. Then reading the forums I saw that some people had an alignment problem with the rear hatch and the roof line. Seemed my little Blue Belle was one of those whom that was misaligned. That was fixed yesterday.

I began to feel like I was wearing out my welcome at the dealership. I even jokingly tell Steve in the service department that I’m his problem child. Bless his heart. He’s done what he could to make sure things were taken care of and that I was compensated for my troubles. Allison, Amber, Lilly, Mr. Carter, and Cleon and the others have all been wonderful in greeting me and making me feel welcome. Plus they always offer me a shuttle ride so I don’t have to wait at the dealership. They’ve all been wonderful and it’s not their fault the wait times, the mishaps with my car, or anything else.

Last week I get a FedEx package with a letter from Mr. Schembri. Since I was fighting the flu I figured it wasn’t a good time to contact him and hack up a lung in his ear. This week I’m feeling much better and had some private time to call him back. I left a message and he promptly returned my call. I appreciated that he took the time to listen to me vent. I don’t know that he can do anything at this point. It did mean something that he took the time to call and listen to what I had to say. He didn’t make excuses. He sounded genuine. And I didn’t feel as though I was being dismissed or that my concerns didn’t matter.

Has anything changed? I did learn that they are trying to open a dealership in Fort Worth. So it’s not just speculation. That means that for future orders that the wait hopefully shouldn’t be as long. I feel better about smart. It’s been a good feeling to know the local dealership smart center of Dallas was doing what they could. But there’s some extra measure of confidence knowing that someone at smart cares enough to take the time to call a customer. After all, I’m just one person. I guess time will tell if anything else changes.

Yes. I still love my lil Blue Belle. She's a little jewel with her flaws and all.

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Comment by angel on June 26, 2008 at 7:11pm
Well, I've owned a Dodge, Chevy, Ford and Harley. Never talked to anyone from corporate with any of them that I know of. So you have a point, Kathryn.
Comment by angel on June 26, 2008 at 1:19pm
Richard: On 6 April 08 when I wrote the letter it was in large part because of my almost 2 year wait. While others in other area's of the country were getting theirs that they reserved and configured in less than a year. Though having adopted an orphan I thought I would also bring up a few of the issues that I had experienced with my vehicle. I also gave kudos for the employees at the smart center Dallas. There are some things that are out of their hands that could be handled differently. For example: There is NO good reason to NOT have ANY spare windshields on hand and in stock. Having to wait 4 - 5 weeks is unacceptable.

Mr. Bad Example: Slamming it is probably how it got broke. Because I was having to do the same thing. It wasn't just a matter of "fail to shut." It was a matter of the latch that holds it closed was broken. They had to order a new one and I drove around for a couple of weeks with duck tape holding the windshield down. Couldn't leave anything in the car or run an errand with more than one stop because I had no way to secure it. The good news is that since the repair I do not have to slam it any longer. It shuts much easier now.
Comment by Richard on June 26, 2008 at 12:26pm
What exactly did Mr. Schembri have to say? Was your complaint about the long wait?
Comment by Billo on June 26, 2008 at 9:16am

I appreciate your heartfelt letter. I'm a smart owner who has had no (well, one SMALL problem that was quickly remedied) problems with their car, and I believe we are both blessed to be associated with exceptional dealerships. Mine, smart Center Bloomfield, is a pleasure to work with and it sounds like your is as well.
I've heard other stories about Dave contacting owners like you. Good for him...he's listening!

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