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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So... the US version of the Smart will not have the same German engine as those sold in Europe. It will be made by Mitsubishi and be a completely different design. What's the full story?

I did search on this here and there isn't much new info. This makes me a little worried about proceeding with the deal. My impression of Mitsubishi cars is not great. They have poor reliability ratings -the lowest of any Japanese marque by a longshot.

And then there's the fact that this is a serious change to the Smart that is relatively untested/unproven. Why wasn't this information disclosed more openly? I'm just waking up to the fact that the US/Canada Smart is a very different car from the European model and that's very disappointing. If nothing else, that means risk to buyers. It's probably a little irrational, but I feel like this is kind of a bait and switch.

I'm not sure what I will do now - other than revisting my plans. I'm going to look into the Mini and evaluate my options more carefully.
 

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The engine is a 1 lite, 3 cylinder, 70 horse gas engine. What I've read is that it is reliable and proven. Somewhere here is a post with pics and specs in .pdf format. I don't have time right now to find it but we will be listing a bunch of FAQs soon with all pertinent info on our Smarts so hang in for a bit. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yes. I saw that. Specs and photos are nice, but dont say anything about reliability and none of this addresses the issue of a new engine being an unproven design for Smart. I didn't sign up to be an 'early adopter', helping them work out the kinks of a new drivetrain configuration. What I wanted was the car they have been selling in Europe - with the minor tweaks required to make it legal in the US. Not a different car altogether. The engine basically is the car. The rest is cosmetic. The way I look at it right now, I'm potentially getting a worst-rated Japanese car with a Smart chassis.

In my mind, this will similarly disppoint a lot of people that were excited about the European Smart becoming available to North America. Turns out it's a completely different car. Add the the lack of information about when I can take delivery on my reserved Smart with this engine issue. It represents a collossal PR screwup on the part of Smart USA. It's a total buzz kill for me. If all this gives me cause to rethink my plans, I'm sure a lot of others are having similar thoughts. Looking at the naked facts, now the Scion or Mini look like a safer small car purchase to me.

I'm suddenly concerned about the long term health of the Smart dealer network if the North America version is a lemon. Irrational? Maybe. But this wouldnt be the first time something like that happened.
 

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And then there's the fact that this is a serious change to the Smart that is relatively untested/unproven. Why wasn't this information disclosed more openly? I'm just waking up to the fact that the US/Canada Smart is a very different car from the European model and that's very disappointing. If nothing else, that means risk to buyers. It's probably a little irrational, but I feel like this is kind of a bait and switch.

I'm not sure what I will do now - other than revisting my plans. I'm going to look into the Mini and evaluate my options more carefully.
First, Good luck with what ever you end up doing.

Perhaps like you, I too harbor a certain uneasyness with anything that is 'first generation' and lacking a good long (historical) track record with any and all possible 'gotchas' spelled out.

Sadly, I was too lazy to drag my sorry a** the four hours round trip it would have been, to the nearest road show when it was that close. If I had, certainly that would have been one of the first questions, reliability thus far(?). Though not being an 'insider' (employee) I can only guess how forthright the answer I might have gotton.

It ain't much consolation (for some) that the only track record will be the aforementioned 'roadshow' and the various reviews made along the way from the (independent?) reporters, which of course are all very short term glances.

finally, it is the questions that you and others raise here (and other places) that help to keep us all more or less sober against the emotional impulse buy (spelled 'blindness' ).

hmmm, perhaps an extended warranty (as part of the already published purchased price) does have some merit... now where was that letter

thanks SmartShanna

(damn, this is just too much typing for me this early in the AM ack!, i'm late for work!)
 

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As someone who probably shouldn't be objective on this issue (current dealer of the Mercedes engine smarts), I offer the following thoughts...

1) Why would Mercedes, in trying to introduce this great little car to the states, take any chances on an engine that they didn't feel was more than adequate? This engine will be fine. It makes no sense that their last ditch attempt at profitability with the smart brand would be compromised with a poor engine. The Mitsubishi engine is NOT a poor engine, just a less expensive engine than the Mercedes. That price differential will bring that many more people to the table in being able to afford this great little car. Though a longer warranty would have been better from a credibility standpoint, this engine will be a good fit for the smart and serve it well. Mercedes engineers had to have put this new engine through its paces before this decision would ever have been made.

2) It may have already appeared elsewhere on this forum, but Daimler's financial results announced last week indicated a 92% increase in smart car sales in the world last month over the same month last year. If the European buyer was worried about a non-European engine in the smart, it certainly doesn't show in those numbers.

3) Smart cars WILL change America, one smile at a time... with a Mercedes engine or a Mitsubishi engine.

Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well said SmartShanna. I want a fun, fuel efficient small car as much as anybody. And I am thrilled with the idea of owning a Smart. I was all wrapped up in it and telling friends. We are all tempted to make impulse buys. After all, it is fun to have the latest and greatest. Everybody wants to be cool to some degree. No matter how old you are.

My reservation was made in July. Others will get their cars before my number comes up. If I hear any complaints, I'll have the luxury of time to bail out. The sad part is I am no longer excited about the car. Now it's just another car to me and I'll evaluate it on it's merits - not the marketing buzz.
 

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Bluesmoke, I have the luxury of hearing from all the owners after they buy this little guy. The feedback is consistent and strong. There is NO car that you will enjoy the rest of your life more than this car. I have customers ranging from the normal working guy to the highest levels of income in the nation. They are exactly the same in their post-buy comments: If they had any clue of the reaction to this car by other drivers, their decision to buy would have been even quicker. This car is a hoot to own. The biggest hoot since the fifties Beetle. There is no way to experience what this joy is until you own one. Please keep your mind open to purchase. You will not be sorry.
Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I get what you are saying Ron, but your point is based on the emotional side of the buy not the practical one. Everything you said seems true. It is like the beetle. I see a lot of those parallels.

Like the Beetle of the 1960's, what I had hoped for was proven technology and benefitting from years of the kinks being worked out of the European design. Now it's a crap shoot. There is no data. I know that sounds negative, but at this point it is a fact. The reliability of the new engine in the Smart is an unknown. And Mitsubishi doesn't have a great track record. If it were a Honda or Mazda engine, I would still be disappointed but less concerned. But that's a moot point. I'll just wait and see.
 

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If it were a Honda or Mazda engine, I would still be disappointed but less concerned. moot point. I'll just wait and see.
I don't know about you, but Honda has been less than perfect in recent years. Transmissions and engines have been going out way too soon. Mine had tranny problems twice in 36,000 miles. The neoghbors CRV needed an engine overhaul at 104,000.

Mazda had an issue with its RX-8 Rotary engine cratering.

Both my Dads' and my 1995 T-birds trannies went out at 70K and both of the engines started smoking around 100K. I totaled mine at 114k he drove his to 175k. both had the 4.6l modular V8

Every manufacturer has it's duds.

If you go to

http://www.smartmania.co.uk/forums/index.php

and spend some time searching you might have second thoughts about the MB engine
Yes, the turbos in the UK have not been holdin up. I wonder though, if that is a driver usage problem. You are supposed to let the car idle for a minute or two befor you shut off the engine. Otherwise, you will get cokeing of the oil around the turbo bearings.
 

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smartMania

There is a lot of good stuff at smartMania, but if you stand back a bit you will see that a lot of its members have the performance/modification bent (I'm not one of them). Some of their problems may be self-imposed.
 

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Mitsubishi builds fine airplanes.

Like Saab, Mitsu has been in the airplane business since before WWII. They designed and produced the Mitsubishi type "O" known throughout the world as the Japanese Zero.

They continue today to produce engines and airframes in use all over the world.

The new Mitsu "I" car line is being built using a similar three cyl engine to the one we will be getting in our NA Smarts.

I have no fears at all on the quality of this engine.

A2Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll drill down into the threads on that site. Thanks. At first glance, it's hard to sift thru the fan raves vs. factual stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Like Saab, Mitsu has been in the airplane business since before WWII. They designed and produced the Mitsubishi type "O" known throughout the world as the Japanese Zero.

They continue today to produce engines and airframes in use all over the world.

The new Mitsu "I" car line is being built using a similar three cyl engine to the one we will be getting in our NA Smarts.

I have no fears at all on the quality of this engine.

A2Jack
Non sequitur. Nostalgia or their ability to produce airframes has nothing to do with the Smart, it's Mitsubishi engine, or my questions. I knew when I asked this it would produce some friction. I'm not dissing the Smart or it's engine. I'm just looking for someone or someplace with data on that engine. Anything short of that is propaganda.
 

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Non sequitur. Nostalgia or their ability to produce airframes has nothing to do with the Smart, it's Mitsubishi engine, or my questions. I knew when I asked this it would produce some friction. I'm not dissing the Smart or it's engine. I'm just looking for someone or someplace with data on that engine. Anything short of that is propaganda.
Then why ask? Seems to me that you need to research it out for yourself, because anything less will just be 'Hear-Say'.:rolleyes:
 

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Any new car model is going to be a crap shoot, we will undoubtedly be stuck with a few bugs.

Isn't Mercedes reliability more of a fable anyways? I might just trust a mitsubishi engine over MB for raw reliability and maintenance.

I'm more worried about the transmission than the engine. I wish it was just a normal manual.
 

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Smart ForTwo to share engine with Mitsubishi and Nissan; Joint development could help Smart to break even in 2007.(Brief Article)
Automotive News Europe, April, 2005 by Meiners, Jens

Byline: Jens Meiners When DaimlerChrysler announced its turnaround plan for Smart on April 1, it said the next gasoline three-cylinder engine would be used by other companies. That engine will be a unit jointly developed by Smart and Mitsubishi. Sources say Mitsubishi will build it in Japan and sell it to Nissan.

The engine will be used in the next-generation Smart ForTwo due in the third quarter of 2006 [OK, a few years late], and in Japanese-market microcars from Mitsubishi and Nissan.


New engine good enough for M-B and Nissan, as well as Mitsu's own vehicles. I'm willing to take a chance, and with the 2 year warranty how can we lose? :D
 

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IF the engine or transmission ....

I'm willing to take a chance, and with the 2 year warranty how can we lose? :D
....Fails after 2 1/2 years or 25,000 miles, that's how! Not being a wise guy here, but that crummy warranty has to be longer to suit me 100%. The poll says so, too.....:D
 
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