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After the fire, he said, he called customer service at Mercedes-Benz to inform it of the location of the car so it could investigate.

"They were in total denial, [saying] that they'd never heard of such [an] occurrence and this was the first time," said Matharu, who discovered for himself the U.S. investigation of the 2008 Smart Fortwo.


Yeah right... ask about the smart in Mercedes warehouse in Germany that is burned up inside. That was back in 2009 as I recall... I was there!!
 

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Maybe aging smarts are about as flammable as your average Galaxy Note 7? :eek:
 
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The NHTSA could by mandate make the ForTwo safer, by forcing MB to address various safety issues, but I’m not holding my breath. My fire-hazard-ready, gasoline leaking 2008 Pure could reveal so much more than countless fire-consumed skeletons of Smart cars. My early infatuation with the ForTwo has evolved in 8 years of ownership from joy to disappointment. I’ve filed a number of complaints with the NHTSA over my two 2008 Smarts for a gasoline leak, seat adjustment mechanisms failing (won’t adjust forward or rearward), defective seat belt receivers, and transmissions that sometimes will not find forward or reverse gear, and other times get stuck in PARK. My Pure has been parked since at least September 2017 due to raw gasoline odors and gasoline leaking from a weep hole in the pan when running, and it’s definitely a fire hazard ready to happen. I wrote letters to both Mercedes and NHTSA suggesting my 2008 Pure is a great opportunity to examine a fire-hazard before it actually catches fire, but sadly neither expressed any special interest. Transmission issues: in the past, we’d always looked for parking spaces that we could pull forward through, because we couldn’t be sure reverse would work. The Cabrio is now parked after the transmission pretty stubbornly stuck in PARK. There may be a hint of raw gasoline odor to it as well. I’ll revisit the problems when weather is better in the Spring, but ultimately, they both have to go. I wouldn’t take another 2008 Smart for free, based on my personal experience. I’d urge any 2008 ForTwo model owners to sell asap before the worst problems reveal themselves. When you have 2 of the same model both demonstrate serious operational defects, you know thousands of others are (or will) be suffering the same defects, it’s just a matter of time. I’m really praying for the NHTSA to intervene to address the fire hazard before some folks die to bring focus to the issue. Anyone interested in a couple problematic 2008 ForTwos? Not likely.
 

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Is Ralph Nader, still alive?

Our 2008, never gave us, a bit of trouble. The seat belt issue was fixed under Kansas State Federal, 10 year safety restraint law. The blower motor fixed twice. Known issue. The little smart, was of the most reliable cars, I ever bought, next to our Honda products. It was fun to drive. I won’t say, it the most refine automobile, I’ve ever bought. That it isn’t, by any means. What do you want $14.5k.

If you driving around a car, any car. You smell gasoline. You might want to take it into a shop, and have it looked at.
Instead of waiting for the vehicle to burst, into flames. That pretty ignorant.
 

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Or the exploding Pinto...
Really, 40 year old technology vs 10 year old tech.
Reports range from 27 to 180 deaths as a result of rear-impact-related fuel tank fires in the Pinto, but given the volume of more than 2.2 million vehicles sold, the death rate was not substantially different from that of vehicles by Ford's competitors. The far more damaging result for Ford was the PR disaster.

Rear impact vs spontaneous combustion while driving or parked.
 

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The NHTSA could by mandate make the ForTwo safer, by forcing MB to address various safety issues, but I’m not holding my breath. My fire-hazard-ready, gasoline leaking 2008 Pure could reveal so much more than countless fire-consumed skeletons of Smart cars. My early infatuation with the ForTwo has evolved in 8 years of ownership from joy to disappointment. I’ve filed a number of complaints with the NHTSA over my two 2008 Smarts for a gasoline leak, seat adjustment mechanisms failing (won’t adjust forward or rearward), defective seat belt receivers, and transmissions that sometimes will not find forward or reverse gear, and other times get stuck in PARK. My Pure has been parked since at least September 2017 due to raw gasoline odors and gasoline leaking from a weep hole in the pan when running, and it’s definitely a fire hazard ready to happen. I wrote letters to both Mercedes and NHTSA suggesting my 2008 Pure is a great opportunity to examine a fire-hazard before it actually catches fire, but sadly neither expressed any special interest. Transmission issues: in the past, we’d always looked for parking spaces that we could pull forward through, because we couldn’t be sure reverse would work. The Cabrio is now parked after the transmission pretty stubbornly stuck in PARK. There may be a hint of raw gasoline odor to it as well. I’ll revisit the problems when weather is better in the Spring, but ultimately, they both have to go. I wouldn’t take another 2008 Smart for free, based on my personal experience. I’d urge any 2008 ForTwo model owners to sell asap before the worst problems reveal themselves. When you have 2 of the same model both demonstrate serious operational defects, you know thousands of others are (or will) be suffering the same defects, it’s just a matter of time. I’m really praying for the NHTSA to intervene to address the fire hazard before some folks die to bring focus to the issue. Anyone interested in a couple problematic 2008 ForTwos? Not likely.
But those are the quirks that are endearing to smart owners ????? Not me but some. :shrug:
I owned a 08 cabrio and currently an 09 cabrio. Even though, neither of my smarts have given me any problems, I have to agree with the Other smart salesperson on the this forum the car is a turd.
Had my smarts not been droptops I would not have had any interest in the brand.
And you know what? It was those very quirks and niggles that compelled us defend and root for our pint-sized underdogs. And that unified help-me-fix-it acceptance of our “un-cars”, is largely what caused us to form such strong relationships at SCoA. That’s why so many of us have always forgiven the cantankerous smart for its shortcomings and sins. We saw it as misunderstood on the US stage, and it seemed to ‘need’ us to survive. Oddly, the 453 never quite needed us in the same way. It was conceptually too refined; too good. It didn’t beckon us for help in the same soulful way.
 

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Is Ralph Nader, still alive?

Our 2008, never gave us, a bit of trouble. The seat belt issue was fixed under Kansas State Federal, 10 year safety restraint law. The blower motor fixed twice. Known issue. The little smart, was of the most reliable cars, I ever bought, next to our Honda products. It was fun to drive. I won’t say, it the most refine automobile, I’ve ever bought. That it isn’t, by any means. What do you want $14.5k.

If you driving around a car, any car. You smell gasoline. You might want to take it into a shop, and have it looked at.
Instead of waiting for the vehicle to burst, into flames. That pretty ignorant.
A car that goes into reverse and is able to backup when the shift selector is moved to R. That would be a novel idea.
A car that doesn't catch on fire while being driven. I believe only one poster den458 reported smelling gas.
I also believe DEN458 HAS parked the smarts until spring when he can revisit the problems, his words.
 

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Mods, if possible, can we merge all recent fire discussion to one thread? It would be beneficial if fire discussion didn’t go like both the fuel tank and panoramic roof discussions where there were multiple simultaneous threads on the same subject.

If the information on the NHTSA site eventually reveals a trend, then most of smart 451 fires are 2008s and 2009s. However, it needs extra noting that not everyone is going to report a fire, so the issue can still be aging.

The EDs seem the least fire-prone of the bunch. That could either mean that the EDs don’t get enough miles, the issue is specific to ICE, or the issue is related to vehicle age.

Based on the (not extensive) information we do have, it would seem age isn’t a primary factor. If it were, we should be seeing 2010s, 11s, and 12s going up in flames by now. Instead, we just have scattered instances of later years going up (I’m still not convinced that my fire wasn’t caused by a transphobic contractor at work).

Is this because the later years are built better? Or is this because the owners of later years just aren’t reporting their fires?

At any rate, the NHTSA will hopefully conclude their investigation soon and shed some light on this.
 

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A car that doesn't catch on fire while being driven. I believe only one poster den458 reported smelling gas.
I also believe DEN458 HAS parked the smarts until spring when he can revisit the problems, his words.
You might want to watch smart car fires, on You Tube. Some have smarts, have started on fire while driving. The owners smell smoke. Got out of vehicle, before bursting into flame. You still don’t drive any vehicle, if you smell fuel. Get it fixed. Why wait for spring?

Seems den458 reported a lot of non life issues to the NHTSA. Cried wolf. If his so unhappy with his smart cars. They death traps. Car Max, will take them off his hands, for $1.5-2k a piece.
 

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My (2008) Pure has been parked since at least September 2017 due to raw gasoline odors and gasoline leaking from a weep hole in the pan when running, and it’s definitely a fire hazard ready to happen.

The Cabrio is now parked after the transmission pretty stubbornly stuck in PARK. There may be a hint of raw gasoline odor to it as well.
While our 2008 cabrio remains a garage queen, regardless of marquee at the slightest hint of gasoline and it would be parked outside, far away from any buildings, with the keys safely locked away.

By the very nature of the smart rear engine design, we quite literally sit under the hood.

After 8 or 9 years and unknown miles - stuff happens regardless of marquee. The source of any gasoline odors or leaks should be beneath/behind or to the right of you and at this point could be a maintenance (fitting, hose, failing part) item?

In our lifetime, we have made quantum leaps from the days when a manual fuel pump had a useful life of something short of 30,000 miles before spewing and fuel injection rails sprung leaks. Those failures were more easily located under the hood or bonnet.

Safety should be top of list for all of us, especially those who choose to drive such a small vehicle. We can't wait for the Nanny State and NHTSA to save us. The NHTSA 2017 budget totaled $1,181 billion and included $250 million for Vehicle Safety, $145.9 million for Behavioral Safety, $585.3 million for State Grants and High Visibility Enforcement Support and $200 million for Autonomous Vehicle Development AND in 2018 is between government shutdowns.

If I were truly concerned with the potential of a 451 ICE spontaneous combustion, in the interest of safety I would rid myself of that vehicle today. :shrug:

I have to agree with the Other smart salesperson on the this forum the car is a turd.
Citation (his words)? - "the car is a turd," don't think that is a direct quote of "the Other smart salesperson?"

And with all due respect - the car (smart) is what it is . . .
 

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I believe this is what you are looking for.
The 2nd Gen smart was a turd. The transmission was crap, the cabin looked cheap, the occupants sat so close to one another you could taste what the other person had for lunch. There was a reason for the $99 lease specials. The only ones I ever sold were to people who needed it to be able to park easily. The cabriolet was almost okay only because no matter how ****ty a car is if you can take the top off it's still okay.

The 3rd Gen is a great car in its own right. But by that time I'm convinced the public already had in its mind that smart was a turd.

As much as I adore my manual smart I never would have even looked at it had I not needed it for parking purposes. Too bad because it's an amazing car.

RIP.
That's not entirely true. Mercedes wanted to sell the car here but didn't know how. Mercedes thought that Penske would have the expertise to get the car into the hands of the consumer. Had Mercedes not wanted to sell the car in the U.S. they wouldn't have. Penske had a problem with the nuts and bolts of getting the cars from France to the dealer in that the dealer couldn't really track the cars (they didn't have Mercedes' Netstar).

Gas prices were higher then but nothing like this is done at the drop of a hat. Mercedes saw the CAFE writing on the wall and that was their impetus.



The cars were quirky and didn't drive like every other car out there. BMW came out with the Mini - which was completely different than anything else they had ever sold - and the car was an instant hit despite being an unreliable vehicle. Fiat hadn't been in the market for decades and came out with the 500 and it immediately sold very well. The smart was just not a great car which is why the American consumer rejected it.

People don't want to say, for a 999cc car this is pretty good. That's not the way people think. People think, this is a good car... this is a bad car... this is an average car.



I've worked for Mercedes for 10+ years and sold smarts for 4 years. I knew the district reps, managers, trainers, etc... Mercedes didn't have the confidence to bring smart here right off the bat and Penske thought they could make some money off it and help Mercedes at the same time. And they had dealers all across the country.


I disagree with your generalization of Americans viewing the larger the vehicle as being a more wealthy person. There were Gucci editions of the Fiat 500 and numerous special Mini Cooper special editions. Also the Miata was a tiny car but everyone had one when they came out (same was true with the PT Cruiser and VW New Beetle).

The "business model" was based on people wanted to buy the car, which few people wanted to do. I do agree with you that an 8'8" car is going to have a tiny (no pun intended) market. But MB could not bring the ForFour over because that might hurt MB sales. So they had a small market from the start but the 451 was just not a good car. It was more like driving a 1960s VW Beetle but not in the "charming" way.

I've driven probably 30 to 40 451 from cabs to coupes to electrics and I was never a fan. As I've said, I think the 453 is a good car in its own right but too little, too late.

It's too bad because I think had MB not been afraid smart would hurt their sales they would have released the ForFour which I would have bought.

Anything else I can help with?
 

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Sorry, where was NEW mentioned ?
FiveSpeed's words - "I've worked for Mercedes for 10+ years and sold smarts for 4 years. I knew the district reps, managers, trainers, etc..."

And your label - "the Other smart salesperson."

All of which would "suggest" NEW car sales?

New, used or pre-owned IDK and done! :shrug:
 

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I've worked for Mercedes for 10+ years and sold smarts for 4 years. I knew the district reps, managers, trainers, etc... Mercedes didn't have the confidence to bring smart here right off the bat and Penske thought they could make some money off it and help Mercedes at the same time. And they had dealers all across the country.
Fact is that smart tried to come to America with a SUV then failed at it after they ran out of money. Maybe MB USA had confidence issues with the 451, however smart itself has always wanted to come to America and had almost succeeded to do so before the 451 ever came into existence. The only thing that stopped them was running out of money...ironically because the roadster was terrible for reliability and the company couldn't turn a profit, not the then non-existent 451.

And it's not like MB is even that great at gauging the market anyway. Remember when MB refused to sell Sprinters through their own dealerships because they were too afraid of making their usual customers mad? As it turns out, their usual customers really didn't even care. Some of them probably even bought MB-branded Sprinters for their own businesses!
 

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Going back to the original smart fire topic......

There were the 450 model, smart cars. That burst into to flames too, in Europe.
 

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As for the fires, it seems that based on the numbers, the 2008s and 2009s are the problem children.

You keep reiterating this comment, but such logic is implausible until the “aging” effect can be factored in.

What changes do you believe were made to 2010+ cars that then made them less prone to auto-immolation?
 
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