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Discussion Starter #1
Well not actually a promise but I understand more than 20,000 people have signed up for delivery of a SmartCar. I also understand 16,000 cars will be imported in 2008. If so, looks like several thousand folks will be disappointed. The "launch" of Smart Car and its viability in the US is that a dealership network (that works) is set up, parts in this network are there, and most of all, enough vehicles to satisfy the public. Of course the car has to "deliver". After the cuteness wears off, gas mileage will be a major component of the buyers choice to purchase it. If the gas mileage is in the 40 mpg (where I've seen it reported), there are several other vehicles already available to address the need. Hopefully the progress of getting the car into the US market is on target. It's been widely noted the car will be available 1st quarter 2008. I suggest the people behind Smart Car make progress reports between now and then, showing dealerships who will sell the vehicle and when buyers will be notified that they are on a real list of buyers. Will Smart Car, indicating the vehicle will be sold 1st quarter, actually start delivering cars to dealers then in turn will begin the process of customer notification, assigning cars to customers for delivery and deliver or will the actual availability be 2nd quarter or even beyond that timeframe? Smart Car needs these steps to happen in a reasonable time or .....?
 

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My understanding is that dealers will be announced shortly and then begin contacting customers in their area who already have a $99 deposit. Presumably this will occur during Sept - Dec time frame, and at this time the actual hard orders will be submitted to the factory. With most car companies, the date the order gets into the system puts it in the factory que, I assume Smart will be no different. Early orders will be the first to be built - those indeed will show up in the first quarter 08. Since there must be a production limit, latter orders will wait in line and be built into the second and third quarters and beyond.

The big variable I suspect will be at the dealership end. Assuming this reservation list the dealer gets is chronological (those who reserved first on top), the correct thing to do is to go down the list and contact the earlier people first to confirm their intentions. But here's where things may get dicey- what if mega dealer A gets his list weeks before the little dealer Z, who only just got awarded his dealership, then dealer A may already have orders in the factory que, long before dealer Z.

And just how many people will the dealer contact at once. Maybe he'll only contact 20/week? ...50?

And another thing to ponder - allocations.
Will mega metro dealer A get 500 units allotted to his dealership, while rural dealer Z get only 100? Then consider dealer A is allowed to place 50 orders/month, while dealer Z only 10/month. This is exactly what happened during the launch of the PT cruiser. Some small dealerships got screwed over the allocations. You could have ordered months before your internet friend, but he gets his two months before you!

Of course this could also work to ones advantage. If dealer Z is in an area where not many people had heard of Smart, maybe there's only 50 names on his list and everyone gets a car early! Its a crapshoot I tell ya! :p

So what will Smart do?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good comments. We live in an area where dealerships will be and few and far between. I would feel comfortable if, during the process of dealers taking orders, a somewhat firm date or time period could be set for the delivery of a vehicle I ordered and not a protracted process. Finding out my delivery is set for 1st quarter only to slip into 2nd then 3rd, etc. would not be good. I guess one advantage of living far from a dealership, I'll assume the dealer I would be "assigned to" will be large and therefor will get a larger shipment of vehicles...well maybe.
 
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