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Discussion Starter #1
As stated earlier Mr. Penske is not unkind or vindictive he is a very wealthy and crafty salesperson surrounded, by a very formidable team. Why would he be vindictive and to whom, over a few cars? There is a bigger picture.

But still he is a car salesman. Penske said in an interview in Stuttgart, Germany, "No incentives will be offered on the car, which will start at about $11,000.00."

At $11,000 for a Smart car no incentives would be needed, only huge inventories. He also said only 5 percent of the waiting list members want the pure model. The pure model, which I believe always comes off the assembly line first, has been an inadequate seller for smart GmbH, has the lowest gross, but 5 percent seems very low. And only two models are available in the U.S., no pulse for us.

Prices quoted are hard to accept (if not impossible) as true. For sure sufficient inventories will be a predicament for the customers.

If you go to www.smart.com and configure a basic pure from their Canadian site, with no options, no destination charges, dealer prep, tax, tag or dealer ups will cost you 16,700 Canadian Dollars, which equals 15,994 US Dollars. $11,000 I hope so but think not!

And let's just say you want a smart and live in one of the 16 states that will not even have a smart dealership, what will the smart cost you, if you can get one?

Remember, Canada's first year allotment was a whopping 800 cars! The smart was introduced in Canada a little over two years ago. As of June 1 2007, 9200 smart cdi's had been sold and there were 10,500 smart cars in Canada. Some Canadian folks are still waiting.

Consider the delineation of 10, regarding sales forecast between Canada and the United States. If this figure is off by half it still equates to 50,000 Smart units needed for the USA in the next 2 years.

Even UnitedAuto Group, V.P., Mr. Pordon admits "that the company (UAG) could conceivably sell out of the first year's expected volume before the vehicle goes on sale." They will, no they have!

He made this statement when UAG had reservations for 12,000 units; they have booked over 22,000 plus orders and continue to take reservations.

So be prepared to wait and wait and wait some more.

Penske also said a 50 state 24 hour technical support line will be instituted for Smart car buyers.

That's great, but according to reports from the Wall Street Journal, "the Company (UAG/smart USA) only plans to sell 16,000 smart cars next year."

Perhaps that's the entire inventory smart GmbH is willing or capable of supplying to the USA? Conceivably this may have something to do with the fact smart GmbH has lost over $4,000 on every car that has rolled off their line and not so smart losses of over $5.9 billion from 2003 to 2006 and finally since stopping production of all other models and cutting much of the fat have a chance to turn a profit, they have been promising the shareholders for years.

Additional issues may hinder procuring your Smart, other than the supply issues. Logistics, accountability questions on many fronts and the potential for unforeseen complications and other problems.

Since the inception, the French Smart plant has been an encumbrance. Lengthy mandatory vacations, substantial subsidy packages, strikes constantly looming and poor work ethics could induce added delays. It is a ridiculous region to manufacture these cars.

For those of you who have placed the $99.00 for your reservations keep in mind you are sending your cash to one of the largest lead generating Internet companies on the web! You ask why your sending it there, well Mr. Penske is on their board of directors.

So we are really paying a lead generating company $99.00 to been on a list. Very smart for sure! This is an excellent first of its kind technique to collect data and leads in overwhelming quantities and be in charge.

If you've registered for a smart and looked at their disclaimer, you can see you're not guaranteed to get a smart car, let alone the color, options or price. The dealer is in complete and total charge regarding the transaction and the price.

I believe their reservation policy is ambiguous, one sided and vague.
http://the2008smart.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18

With their limited supply the dealers may not be selling all the smarts to waiting list people, money talks! After all, the dealers did put up a lot of dough for the privilege of selling a few hundred low grossing cars a year.

Do the math, soon smart USA & UAG will have (my guess) 50,000 plus sign ups, another 100,000 solid car sales leads and 65 dealers plus who paid in the neighborhood of $300,000. This could equal $30,000,000 plus, before they even sell their first car and much more for the future.

My opinion is the pure is nothing more than a lost leader for smart USA! It will be a sales promotion car to get peoples attention and get people into the dealerships.

Loss leaders are an important part of any dealers marketing and sales strategies, but not good for the smart car buying public. The smart dealers realize when you come to their showrooms you're nothing more than a lay down!

For years the real smart car enthusiast has been told story after story by all those concerned with the smart project.

Possibly if half of us on the list asked for a $99.00 refund, would make the consumer the one in charge, as it should be? Now maybe the time to become proactive and take charge and assist each other in monitor and scrutinize the process.

Perhaps we could post a new tread not just telling readers what you ordered but giving additional details.

Like where you live, date ordered, input you've got from smart USA, people you have contacted from smart USA, information they supplied or did not, anything that will help our fellow smart car enthusiast.

As most of you are aware there has been a great problem with communicating with everyone every involved in the smart car project.

Even worst, at least 16 states, hundreds of good size cities and tens of thousands of Smart enthusiast, disappointed and have longer waits than anticipated. How does that work with Mr. Penske's 50 state 24 hour technical support line?

Mr. Schembri, president of smart USA would not offer annual sales volume projections. But he said he expects the "average Smart dealer to sell more than 200 vehicles in the first year." He also said dealers will be profitable within two years. We already know this will not be the case by solely selling the smart.

Joe Guy Collier of the Detroit Free Press said "Mr. Schembri, president of Smart USA, might have been stretching the truth a bit, in at least one of his pitches for the new Smart ForTwo." http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070715/BUSINESS01/707150587/1002

I think he may also be incorrect in some other allegations. And car has yet been tested for our standards.

So I tend to agree with what was written on the web site www.2008smart.com and I quote.

"For now, selling the Smart is just one component of a very complex undertaking. We just may be at a pivotal crossroad for the future and direction of the U.S. automotive industry and the emerging automotive industries of China, India and beyond."

"Truth be told, the entire North American Smart car production and import process is a multifaceted, global business enterprise, reaching far into the future."

"The North American launch of the 2008 Smart ForTwo automobile is certainly not just about selling a handful of $12,000 cars, or introducing a new automotive brand."

"It is, however, an endeavor of significant importance that may have diverse and long-lasting implications for many of us."

Let's get proactive and be smart about the smart.
 

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While I agree with your overall sentiment of smart car buyers being smart, there is little that the US consumer can do on this. Surely having your deposit refunded won't make a statement, it will just be your lost and the next person in line gain. The fortwo will be a hot car, just like the MINI and PTCruiser was on their introductions. I hope SmartUSA will play fair, and as you say there is a bigger picture. While there is a 3rd party here involved (UAG/Penske), I still can't help draw comparison between MINI's US debut in 2003. Both are German designed cars, with financial and engineering links to two prominant German companies: BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Both choose to market these small cars as separate companies, and if the early indication of US Smart dealers continues (most being located at MB dealers), both will share dealerships with their "parent" company (most MINI dealers are adjacent to BMW dealers). For sure Smart will not do anything stupid to "soil the waters", because while there isn't much profit in a pure, as with an entry Cooper, there is LOTS of profit to be had in buying a BMW or MB (Not that I really think MB or BMW are hoping the older Smart and MINI owners will eventually buy a MB or BMW!) But they certainly don't want to turn buyers off to these upscale vehicles (or their dealerships) either!

As far comparing the Canadian built fortwo vs what it would cost in USD is not that simple (not just a straight exchange rate!) For example, comparing Chrysler cars MSRP between US and Canada you'd find our price is about 75% of the Canadian price. So probably the adjusted US price is closer to 12 - 13K. Check other car companies. Canadian models are higher then what simple exchange rates would dictate.

No doubt, this will be an interesting 6 - 12 months, and forums such as this will be important in us smarties "exchanging notes"....not that we'll be able to do anything with it!
 

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I do not understand smartamerica what your point is, it seems you have a complaint against PAG and the car is not even here yet.
So what is your point to all this, at the end of the day you have a choice to buy or not to buy, I have not heard of anyone being "forced" to buy a car...you do have options..
 

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I just spent nearly 20 minutes reading this and feel the same as SmartAmerica but don't know if there is anything we can really do. Smartusa is calculating their risks and taking an anticipated risk. I would love to see them produce 40,000 units but that is outside of the risk they are looking to take I would assume.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Only Problem I Have Is With Unreliable Flawed Details & Insignificant Flow Of Info

I do not understand smartamerica what your point is, it seems you have a complaint against PAG and the car is not even here yet.
So what is your point to all this, at the end of the day you have a choice to buy or not to buy, I have not heard of anyone being "forced" to buy a car...you do have options..
I have nothing against UAG, smart USA or Mr. Penske the owner of UAG. I said he was a
 

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smart happens here!
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Its all interesting history, but what's in the past is in the past. So I don't really see what it will have to do with the NEW fortwo coming to America.
 

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We will see when this program unfolds and is really launched in the US. It seems to me if the SmartCar can be sold in Canada, it should be available in the US. If not, what are the reasons? Many folks will be disappointed if this thing is not pulled off in a timely manner. I for one have "invested" $99.00 but my world does not revolve around getting one of these vehicles. I'll move on to other manufactures who already offer 40+ mpg and have an excellent reputation for reliability. Oh don't get me wrong, I want a SmartCar or I would not be posting here. I'm just not "starry eyed" as some who post.:)
 

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The Smart is a great little car, and I wish we had been able to get it all along, but I do not think it could bear an extra $10-15,000 to convert to US standards. The whole business concept of aftermarket conversion was flawed and bound to fail. I can't really see how this affects the current version coming to the US next year.
 

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WOW smartAmerica you have a complete "conspiracy theory". better run :eek:

As others have commented there is not much we can do, beyond not buying their products..let your wallet tell them how upset you are and not buy a smart..

I did not get the Canada part either :confused: smart is available in about 34 countries, Canada is just another country..

If you would like a say in how MB runs their business buy several million stocks so you can have a say in how to run their business, if not just be glad it's here :D
 

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"Now G&K Automotive Conversion is supplying converted cars to an assortment of car dealers, some dependable and genuine, some merely pretenders."

Hey, SmartAmerica, thanks for the nice words that SOME of the current dealers are dependable and genuine! You didn't say which ones, but you at least left the door open... ;)

Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com
 

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Zeke1312....
I share your sentiments exactly. Lets see how it all pans out in the next few months. I test drove yesterday and spoke to the GM of our local MB dealer about the whole thing and she, at this point, knows NOTHING about how it all will go down....yet....so all I can hope for is that is goes according to plan.
 

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Lets not get too psyched....

Zeke1312....
I share your sentiments exactly. Lets see how it all pans out in the next few months. I test drove yesterday and spoke to the GM of our local MB dealer about the whole thing and she, at this point, knows NOTHING about how it all will go down....yet....so all I can hope for is that is goes according to plan.
 

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I balked at putting a $99 reservation down for a car that I couldn't spec' out and I wouldn't know how much the total would be until they came on the market.

Other than a home, a car for most people is probably their second most costly investment (at least it has to rank in the top five) and I don't know about other forum members or SmartCar owners, but I would never put money down on a house that I couldn't spec out or know what the total cost would be.
 

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Kurt013, regarding your comment about the whole conversion process being flawed, I probably need to provide some background. G&K has converted 9000 cars since the late 1970's. The majority have been Mercedes vehicles. They are not new to this field. They are the largest and oldest converter in the US. They have contracts with the US government and the State of California for testing at his facility and also works with major automakers in the US using his equipment. What we all need to ask ourselves is how great a role G&K played in actually having Mercedes bring the smarts to the US. Don't forget that Mercedes had refused to bring the smart here since 1998. It was just two months after G&K made their cars available to the American public that Mercedes did their turnabout. Prior to that, in late 2005, Mercedes was still talking about their smart-SUV vehicle for the US (ouch!). Perhaps it was coincidental. Perhaps not. But there should be at least an eyebrow raised that G&K played an indirect, if not significant, role in convincing Mercedes that there was a potential market for the smart here in the US. Worth considering, anyway.

Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com
 
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