Now's the time for smart owners to come to the aid...

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.

MJB

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.
MJB

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Comment by spicejax on July 31, 2011 at 9:01am

I want to thank all of you that have responded here. Some of you that have been using sUSAi for a while have seen me make countless blog posts and comments, trying to get smartUSA to attend to the spam and other issues with the site. Unfortunately, I never received more than a 'canned' reply very similar to what jwight describes as "we're working on it".  Then of course the spam kept coming. 

 

I could see that I had a new opportunity when Daimler took over. I put aside my aggravation and frustration. Then I tried again. This time I did get a response and a actual dialogue with DVI staff. instead of complaining in forums I offered constructive ideas.

 

What I wrote above is my response to Forest's post on SCoA. As I said, I have had the chance to discuss my thoughts with DVI and I speak for myself. I believe in being open and sharing what I can with my fellow smart owners. There are some very big problems for DVI to solve. My point was to let you know that Tracey wants and needs our feedback and that is why I asked everyone to speak up here in the official smart supported forum.

 

The whole idea of the smartUSAinsider is for owners and all 'stakeholders' involved in smart to talk to each other sharing our experience in a 'social way'. smartUSA did not take advantage of the opportunity for whatever the reason, DVI has shown me that they are willing and want to hear our voices. They listened to mine and will listen to yours. What seems like 'no brainer' simple solutions to us are more complex for a large company. 

 

Now with your comments you've started the dialogue with DVI and the Team in New Jersey. Will all the problems be fixed immediately?  Sadly, no. Will things improve moving forward I believe they will.

 

Forest, I created the sUSAi user focus group not smartUSA. Again they did not take advantage of the opportunity. Yes, I have talked to folks at DVI. I do not have a 'special phone line', but I do know how to use a phone and the same tools that are available to everyone. They are communicating with owners and want to talk to more of us. I do not have any problems with my car, as you have stated with owners you know.  Your passion for trying to help them is good.  The Give us a Shout post was just posted to get your feedback and there is the message by Tracey on the main page. 

 

I intend to keep positive and look forward.

 

MJB 

Comment by Fran Butzberger on July 29, 2011 at 5:50pm
many of us "older" Smart drivers are not plugged in 24/7,nor do we want to be.  There is a lot of living to do,places to see and people to meet out there.  As an avid RVer, I have found my Smart to be tops in towing and sightseeing when we get to our destination.  It is a 'town" car, a second car for traveling to work or doing errands.  Perhaps if the powers that be emphasized these traits,it would attract like minded buyers.  I know a lot of us RVers are sold on the product.
Comment by Anna on July 29, 2011 at 11:07am

MJB, Please let me know if you need help with anything. Thanks for all you are doing.

PS I LIKE FB best lol

Anna M. Griffin

Tink

Comment by Forest on July 29, 2011 at 9:14am
Oh, and whats the point of saying anything in a group that was put together by the old team and has yet to have anyone on the new team show us they care. http://www.smartusainsider.com/group/susaiuserfocusgroup
Comment by Forest on July 29, 2011 at 8:59am

WHere are you getting this info from.  Do you have a special phone line to them?

 

You seem to be the only one they are communicating with.  

 

The worst thing so far has been all the owners who have a car that will be out of warranty before they get a new dealer to deal with warranty repairs. 

Typical responses they have received is " call back in 3 months or go drive 300+ miles with all those thing wrong with your car"

Comment by jwight on July 29, 2011 at 8:24am

Michael,

Thanks for the posts and your perspective.  Absolutely agree owners are the key - what else does the car have going for it at this point?  The new smart USA has been silent since the last post by Tracey Matura on June 9th.  There is an information/knowledge vacuum and it's being filled by rumor and speculation.  Instead of vague generalities ("they're working on it") from third parties, or even some specifics recently posted as a result of a dealership meeting, how about some regular communication from the new smart USA team?  They don't need to go into a lot of detail, just reach out and give us some idea they of what they're up to and who they are.  Many of us had the opportunity to meet Dave S. and Jill L. on several occasions - something pretty rare with other car companies.  Hopefully Tracey Matura will be out meeting with smart owners also.  There's a lot to be done and we were told at Wisconsin Dells in June that M-B USA had more of people and money (than Penske) to throw at the "new" smart USA.  The other side of the coin is many M-B dealers want no part of smart and without a larger dealer network we can't overcome the "miles to the nearest dealer" issue.  In addition, other larger cars are quickly joining the 40 mpg club, a distinction smart had to itself at the 2008 launch.  We've already seen that the Chevy Cruze will offer a diesel powered 2013 model.  With the next gen Daimler/smart fortwo still at least three years away the best smart USA can do at this point is maintain the status quo until the new car arrives - if it does.  It's no secret that M-B USA wanted the smart brand to get their fleet CAFE numbers higher.  It's entirely possible they may consider doing the same thing with their new A-Class platform powered by a turbodiesel engine.  That would give them the same or better CAFE numbers plus a lot more profit margin on each car.  All speculation at this point, which brings us back to the original idea of dispelling rumors and speculation by hearing some actual information from smart USA in Montvale.  To use your sports analogy, "the ball's in their court."

Comment by claudia poplin on July 29, 2011 at 4:42am
this is a great idea. I'll do it tomorrow, once I can organize my thoughts well enough :)

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