I want to thank Forest for the inspiration for this Blog post.
Thanks, Forest! Sincerely, Michael.
The following is a response I made to a post by Forest at SCoA.
I have posted it here for all of the smart owners here to read and get involved.
The answer Forest is no. DVI/MBusa has not 'dropped the ball'. I can confirm that the new DVI/smart is working hard to get the things we all want for smart to happen. Since you are using the Ballgame metaphor I'll respond in kind.
They have assembled a pro team with a leader who 'gets' what the smart is about and has team members who are on the same page. Until DVI got the 'keys to their 'smart' they could only work on the 'closing' with smartUSA. What we knew as smartUSA is gone as of July 1. You and I got used to the posts from Dave S. And then Jill. on sUSAi. Remember that they spoke from the top of the hill, but rarely to owners directly. Dave was more public than Jill, but she did post announcements. Those posts on the sUSAi main page were soothing to us, but not satisfying. Yes, there were no posts after June 10. Yes, none since July 1. And here we are July 29. And all you have heard is two press releases and just the other day a change to the sUSAi main page in a attempt to clean the stagnant posts. Since you and I, like many of our fellow smart owners, are on sUSAi and this site almost every day we are waiting for the Huddle to break and see our team run the ball. There is much more to this than we know. There has been constant work going on with the whole DVI/smart team. Back in June there was a meeting in NJ for all the smartCenter dealers new and old. The team went to France to learn about smart and how the smart-MB relationship works there, to bring that kind of system to the US. When Penske brought the car to us it took him more than a few months and we know that the smartCenter network was nowhere near perfect. Right now the smart hardly exists in the public eye and it's the same with the American MB dealers, The smart is going from a 'Mom and Pop' type shop to the size and power of MB in the USA. It's still going to take until the fourth quarter of this year to see the public face of smart emerge. I have reached out to and have received response from several folks at DVI personally. I never received a word other than a 'we're working on it' boilerplate with smartUSA, about the same issues that you are concerned with. I tried since 2009 to no avail.
This is a major change with DVI/smart over smartUSA. I can tell you right now that they realize that the current owners on sUSAi and elsewhere are the key to marketing the smart. They want to hear from our voice and know it is important to understand how to market the smart in the US. Now that the team is back in NJ. They soon will be reaching out to us. Not by a meaningless 'proclamation' on sUSAi or here, but through a actual human to human dialogue. This, just like the smart, is a unique thing.
We are in a 24/7 internet world, the real world, the offline world, runs at the same speed it always has, we have waited for the car to come to the US. We have waited for smartUSA to run with the ball instead they tossed it to Tracey, Julia, Sean, and Deirdre. Again a small core team to lead smart, with a big difference...they 1) Have MBusa and Daimler behind them. 2) They come from Daimler not Penske/Detroit. and 3) They know that to move forward they need to see where smart has been and is right now, that means us, the owners will be involved to help. They have already started on the foundation and have done a lot in 29 days. More than we know right now. Make your list of what you think will make smart 'the' car for a 'Open minded' American. Go post it here: susaiuserfocusgroup
Time to support your team.