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Discussion Starter #21
Well, powerofvoodoo, I'll try to be more supportive and not read your posts as whining. ok?

Maybe it read that way because you being young and this your first car you had expectations that weren't met. It's life and it happens. It really sounds more like minor issues and communication problems with the dealer. These can all be overcome with a lot less freaking out about it. I know, because I'm a big freaker-outer, myself! :eek: Talk with your dealer - service manager or GM. These people want you to be happy - it's their job.
I've asked about most of the problems I've had in posts to get advice whether or not it is user error or if there's a larger underlying issue. I'm not intending any of this to be whining, only expressing my frustration with the fact that I'm the lucky one to experience most of the common problems with one car.
The larger problem that I was posting about is the fact that I did inform my dealer of all of the problems and he said "So what's the problem?" and only tried to help me after I informed him that I hadn't completed my survey yet.
I came here with the timeline for everything because my mom is pushing me to e-mail "smart" and tell them what I've gone through. This post was basically asking if I should do that or if this was normal considering the car has only been in the US for 2 years (my previous excuse every time I took the car to the dealer).

For everyone else, these problems are in no way a deal breaker and there's no way I'm selling or trading in my car for anything else. The problems, minor or not, and visits to the dealer have mostly just taken away the excitement from the fact that I just bought my first car and it's a car I've wanted for years. Stating that I should have gotten a used Honda was kind of tongue-in-cheek considering the Honda I was going to get had a bad transmission and it probably would have needed to get replaced while I owned it.
I was lucky to get the smart - I had a $12,000 budget (the car is completely paid for), and the only way I was able to afford a brand new ANYTHING was with cash for clunkers.
 

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The question to ask yourself if you e-mail SmartUSA: what do you expect to gain?

Are you looking for a different new smart? Financial compensation? Free repairs? [That doesn't work, they're already free.] A free t-shirt or coffee mug? [I think you already received a mug, hat, and jacket.] A gas card? Someone to say "I'm truly sorry?" A flat tow and free return when your headlights need alignment?

What could SmartUSA do to keep you from picketing the dealership? And then which dealership would you picket?

Decide what you want. If you want nothing, the e-mail will probably have little response. If you want the world in exchange for your troubles, you will probably have little response. If what you ask for is reasonable, there's no reason you shouldn't have a good outcome from the exchange.

For your first new car, your "dream car" - completely paid off - I can understand wanting perfection. I can understand not wanting major problems with your new vehicle. You're caught in the middle ground where you're not ecstatic yet your car is and has been 100% driveable (unless auto mode and/or the center shifter also failed you).

Is there more that you'd like from the dealership where you purchased the car?
Is there more that you'd like from the dealership performing the service?
Is there more that you'd like from the manufacturer?
Is there more that you'd like from us on the forum?

Personally, I don't see you as a whiner, I see you as frustrated with the car not meeting your elevated expectations. I also wouldn't like to visit the dealership each week.
 

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Well said John :)

I too do not see a "whiner", just utter frustration :mad:

It seems he has a beef with the dealership(s) just "blowing him off". They should be trying to make things right for him. The economy is bad enough; and to add insult to injury will only eventually kill the dealership :rolleyes:

SOMETHING THEY MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER :eek:


 

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Voodoo. I don't see you as a whiner either.

It looks like we must continue pound Smart INC to get these QC problems solved. I am furious that so many of the same problems We had with our early, Jan 08, car are still occurring in the 09's. Even GM does better than this.

I love the car as it is fun to drive, but ours was going back to the dealer so often in it's early months that we just set it aside, and now drive it strictly for fun, It's become just a toy

While many think Voodoo's problems are minor the fact he has to keep bringing the car back to the dealer becomes a big PIA and a total waste of time.

One of Smart's problems is the ultra short warranty. Owners must try to get every little thing fixed in a short time, as they fear they will be left with big expense when the clock runs out.

And no, we don't expect to find all these bugs in a second year model of any car. Our SX4 (june 09 ) @ 7k miles, by comparison, has not had to return to the dealer except for an oil change. A2Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #25
The question to ask yourself if you e-mail SmartUSA: what do you expect to gain?
I don't expect to gain anything which is why I haven't written to them even though I have the contact information. The only reason I'm considering it is so that they know that they're selling cars that have had numerous problems. That was also the reason why I called my dealer in the first place - so that they would know - not so that they would throw free stuff at me. (The only reason I accepted the things that I did was because it was stuff that I was contemplating buying anyway.)
 

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It seems she has a beef with the dealership(s) just "blowing her off". They should be trying to make things right for her. The economy is bad enough; and to add insult to injury will only eventually kill the dealership :rolleyes:
I love when a dealership is responsive and seriously takes ownership. Too often the sales people are the ones fielding the calls from existing owners and the people who should be listening are primarily the General Manager and secondarily the Service manager.

While many think Voodoo's problems are minor the fact she has to keep bringing the car back to the dealer becomes a big PIA and a total waste of time.

One of Smart's problems is the ultra short warranty.
It may be better to wait a little while if the problems aren't severe to take care of several nagging issues at once. We do have 2 years (except, perhaps, for the clutch at one year). The short warranty was probably partly for SmartUSA to reduce their exposure to unknown warranty costs. I'd like to see this extended as they get a better idea of the reliability of the 451 over time. It's SmartUSA footing the warranty bill so I'm surprised there isn't more pressure to get the folks in Hambach to improve their QC on the frequent problems (e.g. microwave sensor?!) and reduce the exposure to warranty costs. Having a QC pass for every car in the dealership would be another way to approach this but that's more of a dealer issue unless SmartUSA starts paying for that time, too.

The only reason I'm considering it is so that they know that they're selling cars that have had numerous problems.
The best way to get them to know about the problems is to do as you have: get the problems fixed under warranty. The costs bite SmartUSA in the bottom (line) and SHOULD be reason enough for them to push back on France (or Germany).

I'd suggest calling SmartUSA and asking if they'd be willing to do the tow to handle the next service issue(s) since you've been in so much so early. This is further pain for that parent company.
 

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I can't believe someone branded you a whiner. I'm sure that they have ordered something from a fast food joint, and when it wasn't exactly to their liking they returned it. You are simply asking the dealer/company to make good on the contract they entered with you. Whatever amount you spent on your Smart, you should be completely satisfied. We have had ours for 2 months now and have put 3000 miles on it with no issues. We've received no fewer than 3 calls from the Smart Center in Tulsa ensuring that we are happy with the car. Stick to your guns and keep on the dealer!

I would like John H to explain what he means by "elevated expectations".
 

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I can't believe someone branded you a whiner. I'm sure that they have ordered something from a fast food joint, and when it wasn't exactly to their liking they returned it. You are simply asking the dealer/company to make good on the contract they entered with you. Whatever amount you spent on your Smart, you should be completely satisfied. We have had ours for 2 months now and have put 3000 miles on it with no issues. We've received no fewer than 3 calls from the Smart Center in Tulsa ensuring that we are happy with the car. Stick to your guns and keep on the dealer!

I would like John H to explain what he means by "elevated expectations".
Let's not be harsh. I didn't brand her a whiner. I said that to me the post read as whining. Then I went on to add a supportive message, once a 2nd post by voodoo made her situation more clear to me.
Now you've branded me a whiner-brander - not fair!!!:(.... (that was a whine - :))
Well, powerofvoodoo, I'll try to be more supportive and not read your posts as whining. ok?

Maybe it read that way because you being young and this your first car you had expectations that weren't met. It's life and it happens. It really sounds more like minor issues and communication problems with the dealer. These can all be overcome with a lot less freaking out about it. I know, because I'm a big freaker-outer, myself! :eek: Talk with your dealer - service manager or GM. These people want you to be happy - it's their job.
 

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I would like John H to explain what he means by "elevated expectations".
This is her first new car - her dream car. It reads to me that she very much wanted (and rather expected) the car to be flawless and not have to revisit the dealership until the first oil change. Perhaps that's not what she was expecting but that's what I saw.

We would all like our new purchases to be flawless whether small items or major purchases. Most people would expect a complicated piece of machinery to have issues though we'd like them to be few and far between.

I would not have been as disheartened as our original poster with the problems she's had. My expectations aren't at the same level as hers. While the regular trip for service could get to be annoying, I like my smart enough that I do enjoy the opportunity to drive to a place where there are more smarts and interest in them by the people around me whether potential customers, existing owners getting service, folks selling the cars, or the service people interested in taking care of the owners.

Do you expect the new car experience to be perfection? Would a glove box that doesn't properly lock make your new-car experience frustrating? Or would it be a matter of acceptance that "these things will happen" and that you're taken care of?

I wish the best experience for all new car owners!
 

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Thank you John, and I do agree that peoples expectations do differ. With the problems she's had though, I believe that I would have taken it right back to the dealer.

Voodoo, eventually you may have to get the State Attorney General involved but hope it doesn't come to that.
 

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things will works themselves out. first car expectations were probably higher than reality would dictate. most cars have issues, whether their owners see them that way or not. smarts seem to have some stubborn quirks. something to consider when buying from a dealer 100 miles away, a car built overseas, in france no less!

i believe the smart is really a niche vehicle and only those who are prepared to put up with its idiosyncrasies should be looking at it as their next purchase.

one must also have their expectations adjusted against their investment. the car will never have the fit and finish of vehicles that cost 2x as much or more.

something will go wrong eventually, just like with most cars and if the distance to the dealer combined with imported parts and low availability, combined with no service manuals, combined with short warranty will annoy you, then think carefully about buying this car. this car is perfect for those who are willing to put up with all the effort, hassle and inconvenience in return for a fun ride, a conversation piece, an attention getter, an industrial design wonder, a novelty.
 

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All of this discussion makes me really glad that I bought one of the last 2007, 450 Passions in Guadalajara in November of 2006. We haven't had a single problem in 22,000 Kilometers. The 450 was a proven model with the Mercedes engine and a six speed transmission. We're happy! The 451 appears to be a modified model aimed at the US market and now pretty much standard worldwide. However, it is a different car with different drive train. I like its looks and have sat in one at the dealership but have yet to drive one.
 

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Well voodoo, take it from me (I'm just 5 years younger than you). Your first car is BRAND NEW! No doubt that it'll have quirks and issues, no car is perfect new. If your dealer was more responsible you probably would've been there less. Don't take it out on the smartie, but to your dealers! I too soon would have a smart as a first car and through some study on this site, I'm ready for the obstacles that could come with a smart.

Take a look at other car forums and you'll see posts just like yours, people with faulty car parts and dealers too lazy to fix them.

Besides, if you had a used Honda, repairs will come out of YOUR pocket! So as long as repairs are free and your lazy dealers keep on giving you free merchandise, Live it up! Be happy that you're being (somewhat) taken care of for just 100 more miles on the odometer.

Eventually once you work out those kinks (that's what a warranty's for!) you will soon enjoy your car and possibly laugh about yourself because you got soo up tight about a few issues. In the end, the car will eventually pay for itself unlike those hybrids. :)
 

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Hey powerofvoodo, Carl242 is the expert on initial smart problems. Glad to se he's enjoying the car. I would savor his advise, it closely matches your experience.
 

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Neon - would you suggest she do more than simply take it in for service? Are you suggesting there's some satisfaction she can get from the dealer?
OH YES!!

I'd call Dave S. if my dealer wasn't performing to expectation. Especially if I drove 100+ miles and after waiting 2 hours just for them to tell me that it was possibly USER error!

But my point is, you need to set your dealer straight, rather it be by Dave S. or by other means.

Once you get it all sorted out you should begin to love your dream car! :)
 

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There are scale models of Smarts available. Perhaps Powerofvoodoo should search her property to see if one can be found with a pin in it.
 

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Here's my story, it may help you survive the problems you're currently having. Just keep in mind that your smart is a machine and machines can usually be corrected to the point where they operate correctly.

Car: 2003 Focus SVT purchased new! Woo hoo.

At 3000 miles, it was time for my first oil change and I just couldn't handle the sticky throttle body, out of balance tires, creaking driver's seat, smoke and stench from burning oil off the valve cover gasket, and this peculiar rattle that came from the clutch so I went to the stealership to get the above fixed. I was told I would need a new clutch. Note that when you buy a SVT model from Ford, you get a mostly-free rental while your car is getting worked on. I got a Chevy Aveo that had a broken horn, a non-locking seat belt and the driver's door would swing open occasionally on right-hand turns.

After two weeks of that awful Aveo, I get my car back and the alignment is waaay off and the new valve cover is still leaking. Back to the stealership; this time I get a Neon.

After three days, I get my car back and the new valve cover is leaking again, ugh. A few days later, my shifter cable falls apart and I I can't get my tranny out of 1'st; back to the stealership and I get a Suzuki Aerio.

After a week and a half, I go to get my car and when I pick it up, the airbag light is on. I refuse to accept delivery of a potentially unsafe vehicle and leave it at the stealership; I get a Mazda 3.

I get my car back the next day (woo hoo) and notice a really awful squeeking sound and observed their "fix" on my driver's seat, they slobbered white lithium grease all over everything and discover I have grease on my coat and briefcase. I also notice that my front bumper is . . . squeeking, horribly. Back to the stealership, this time I get a Toyota Echo.

Fast forward a whole 3,000 miles where my new clutch is making the rattling sound and I have gotten a bubble on one of my tires. I go to the stealership and they tell me that my tires are no longer available and I'll just have to live with the clutch noise. They refused all other warranty repairs at that point. There were several other incidents where I was back for legitimate warranty issues (coolant leaks, failed alternator, ignition switch problems etc.) during this whole ordeal. All in all my car was in the shop for 35 BUSINESS days over eleven trips.

Do I still have the car? Heck yeah, but it was hell getting it finished. The car initially half kit-car, half classic Fiat but has been running well for the last three years and looks beautiful It takes a lot of patience to work through the issues but you'll eventually get there. Everyone in life has struggles, this one seems big because you're young and you put a lot of emotion into your car purchase.

Good luck.
 
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