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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Two people I know cancelled

I think we may be getting our smarts much sooner than we expected if my personal experience is typical. I work at a college and the smart reservation process became well known on our campus quite early because a student car buff wrote an article in the student newspaper about the smartcar right after the reservation process started.

Well two people I work with who had reservations and had confirmed just told me they cancelled their orders. What is particularly interesting to me is why they cancelled as their reasons hit both side of the smart buyer equation IMO.

One person- who was what I'd call a rational buyer- pulled out because he said with the need for premium gas, not so great gas mileage, price gouging with added rediculous fees by our local smart center dealer, mercedes servicing prices for a 15K car, and lack of utility it just became, to him an irrational purchase.

The second person who cancelled, a woman I work with- cancelled for totally the opposite reason. For her the smart was to be an additional car- a toy. With very strong signs of a deep recession on the horizon she just felt it was inappropriate to be getting a 20K toy (her's was a convertible) at this time. Plus for her it meant a car needed to leave the garage and be parked outside and in NJ in the winter this is an off putting thought - so she cancelled this week too.

Well I make no claims to this experience being indicative of the market as a whole (college people are - can I say a bit unique?) but you know, the attrition rate might go a lot higher than people are expecting.

If so that won't be a completely bad thing for the smart consumer and Smart USA. Won't it be great to see the dealers have to stop gouging with these bogus fees, and won't it be just great if all these 'enterprenual" buyers who bought smarts to resell them get gouged themselves? Won't it be great to see desperate buyers who just love the car, like our Orphan Begger friend, but reserved late satiate their desperate longings sooner?

I think in the long run it would actually help Smart USA if smart becomes just another car that needs to be sold on it's merits. It would compel Mercedes to bring us the diesel, bring out a stick shift model (thereby lowering the price and boosting the MPG), add more options (like cruise control), have the gas car run on regular and treat us more fairly as customers by not letting their dealers gouge us on fees (the allocation tool is powerful weapon if they want to employ it at SmartUSA to stop gouging). Paradoxically I think it would be better for Smart USA in the LONG RUN (not something that is thought about much these days) if they make their way on product excellence rather than being the "fad de jour".

Just my 2 cents- flame away.

Last edited by Lewis; 01-18-2008 at 07:35 AM.
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 04:58 AM
 
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Those cars will find owners

Most dealerships have waiting lists of reservation holders and non-reservation holders.

I know a bunch of guys from my Mercedes-Benz Club who wanted a SMART but never did the final reservation process, so now they are complaining that they have to wait so long for their delivery.

No doubt many people thought, hey I will put my reservation in sight unseen, and when the time comes to see and try out the car, it will not be what they want or need. It is TINY and many Americans have a lot of trouble with that, it is not what we are used to.

I am sure there are plenty of potenal owners out there, as well as later reservation holders, like some on this site.
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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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As I understood it the dealers were not supposed to offer cars to non reservation holders before they query the reservation holders in the order of their reservations. In my experience this has not been the case. A great irony might be that walk ins - with shall we say- a little more juice of one kind or another- get cars BEFORE people who have reserved many moons ago?
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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with all due respect- I'VE BEEN HIJACKED!

this was supposed to be about delivery possibilities- good news I thought- not servicing costs.

:-)
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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
with all due respect- I'VE BEEN HIJACKED!

this was supposed to be about delivery possibilities- good news I thought- not servicing costs.

:-)
Sorry, but the Mercedes thing was part of it. Anyway, to help get back on track, I believe that after some rational thought many will back out when the time comes.

1. Some may have only a passing interest and/or do not miss the temporary loss of their returnable $99.

2. Some will realize that it is not suitable as an only car unless they are urban dwellers with an affordable place to garage it. And, only marinas charge to dock by the foot.

3. Some will realize that it is not a good substitute for a second “standard” car, and is of limited practicality if not used as intended (as a “city car”).

4. Some will realize that $12-$17k is a lot of money for “Whee; look at me” motor-bling that will be of transient cuteness and attention-getting value, if that is their primary interest. PT Cruisers are now invisible, and even MINIs are not turning heads.

5. Some will realize that it isn’t an extremely “green” or extremely cheap commuter. The MPG is quite good but not spectacular, and 91-octane gas adds expense.

6. Some will tire of waiting and might go the grey route, or wait for used U.S. 451s sold by disillusioned, early buyers. Some might hold out for a future U.S. “stop-start” (maybe) or diesel (not gonna happen) configuration.

7. Some will not care for long distances to dealers and servicing.

8. Some will shy away due to safety concerns, real or imagined.
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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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But the important and over riding point to me Fish is that there may be a whole lot of cancellations coming and that it only helps smart USA and it's customers if the Smart is percieved as a car and not as "fad du jour" and this backlog of orders evaporates. The dealers and Smart USA are enjoying (exploiting?) this success and citing their long waiting list but the point I was making and DO personally believe is that it would actually be beneficial in the long run for everyone concerned (except perhaps for the speculators) if this darn fad thing goes away and the smart competes in the marketplace based on it's merits as a CAR.

Last edited by Lewis; 01-18-2008 at 06:22 AM.
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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 06:49 AM
 
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Lewis,
I, for one, appreciate your very insightful comments. Greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Jet
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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 06:55 AM
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I think that smart themselves have done a good job of directing people's attention to the seriousness of the car and its place in the present and future world. It is the press and customers and by-standers who are responsible for the fad and cutesy stuff.

Last edited by Old smart; 01-18-2008 at 06:56 AM. Reason: synt.
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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jet- You know I love the smartcar- why else would I care so much?

But a lot of PAG stuff just sets me off.

NO DOUBT in my mind they intentionally helped set off the feeding frenzy by the way they set up the reservation system and also NO DOUBT they could put a real quick stop to these "fees" by dealers if they so choose to by using their power of setting allocations.

What do they do?- they go after a few misfits trying to make some easy cash reselling their cars.

Tells you where their priorities and true motives really are. PAG has no REAL problem with some dealer gouging as long as it's not TOO excessive (THEN IT WOULD HURT THEM) but has a REAL big problem if a few misfits try to get in on the feeding frenzy and make a quick buck.

THANKS PAG- my dealer is charging $500 in "fees" - the previous car I bought in NJ (a Mazda) had NO fees. It burns me up to pay $500 for NOTHING and thanks again PAG for CHOOSING not to put a stop to dealer gouging.

Last edited by Lewis; 01-18-2008 at 08:06 AM.
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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 08:12 AM
 
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We really don't know yet if PAG is addressing this or not. I don't believe anyone in those areas has actually taken delivery yet and had to fork over these "fees" for phantom services. I could be wrong but I haven't seen where people have actually paid these fees yet. Anyone have an update on these dealers and whether the fees are legit?
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