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I just got the latest Newsletter from Smart USA and they are saying that they will launch an enthusiast/ fan site next month...

Has any OEM Car company ever done this? Do they think they will be able to handle it? Are they going to allow discussion abotu modifications and angry users? I can't wait to see this train wreck, but hey, it may be a great thing for Smart Car of America.

 

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This will be interesting as you say to see how a corporate OEM handles a community site. I would really like to know how censored the site will be and what medium there will be to discuss the car.

Does anyone know of an automaker attempting this before...? Either way I am skeptical as to how much value it will hold against as site like smartcarofamerica who is built around enthusiast and will et everyone hash out the ideas and rumors of the car!
 

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Does anyone know of an automaker attempting this before...? Either way I am skeptical as to how much value it will hold against as site like smartcarofamerica who is built around enthusiast and will et everyone hash out the ideas and rumors of the car!

Sure, I think MINI did it - they had a "owners lounge", and I believe a forum was part of it. But my take on it is that since car enthusiasts sites are always present (and well established) before these carmakers sites, so I think they probably do not do as well. In the example of MINI for instance, you had to be a owner to register - you actually registered with your cars VIN. So obviously, that leaves non-owners out - which is an important portion of enthusiasts sites.
 

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Not sure I'll be allowed to make comments on their site, folks.. they've denied our existence! Still, if they encourage input and feedback, positive or negative, it will fit the culture of the car. This car has no stereotype, no predecessor, no equal in design. Aiming to make their marketing end fit that mold is a tough decision, but a brave and smart one if they do it.

Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com
 

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MINI has indeed done it and it is a bit boring except for some cool games and media footage that they update regularly. However, the unofficial enthusiast forum for the MINI, North American Motoring, is a far better resource all around for discussing service problems, work arounds for the do-it-yourselfer, and for aftermarket parts. In fact, NAM is powered by the same forum engine as this forum. As the SmartCar is actually introduced, more aftermarket sponsors sign on, and enthusiast traffic builds up, you will find any OEM sponsored site will be visited primarily by newbies who will gradually migrate to this forum for issues related to general SmartCar discussion, car problems, aftermarket tuning and dealer problems and issues.
 
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