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Roger Penske on Smart
From the Penske Automotive Group conference call Ocober 25, 2007. Roger Penske speaking.

Let me give you a little insight on our Smart distribution business. We continue to make great progress under Dave Schembri's leadership in building our distribution network and we remain on track for the first quarter of 2008 for our launch.

The $99 reservation program we launch last March continues to exceed our expectations. In fact, we now have over 34,500 reservations to date as we sit here this afternoon. In August, we initiated a new process, and that was a reconfirmation whereby reservation holders are contacted through the Internet and asked to let us know the exact specifications of the vehicle they would like to purchase. We then use this information to order car from the factory, creating a real build-to-order system. It's interesting as we look at the mix on the reconfirmation that people are moving up from the standpoint of the cars they want to buy and have added more content. We believe this will allow for an official ordering and distribution process for us and will lead to outstanding customer satisfaction.

We also talked about our Smart road show during our last call. As most of you know, we launched a 50-city tour that started in May. We are nearing the completion of the tour, which has been well received and has led to an enormous amount of press and publicity. Our street teams have reached out to more than 70,000 potential customers during the process which allowed us to gain valuable insights about our customer base.

Many of you have asked about our first year volume. We currently expect to sell between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles in 2008. We've announced a base retail pricing for the Smart line up. These prices exclude registration, title tax and destination charges. And for any of you who might have missed it, the pricing will be on our pure coupe at $11,590, that's our entry level; our passion coupe, $13,590 and $16,590 for our passion cabriolet.

Let's turn to the retail side of Smart. We have identified our retail network and have worked with our dealer candidates to ensure that their facilities meet our specifications. I am pleased to tell you that the dealers should be ready for the first Smart vehicles, which we expect to hit the showrooms in the latter part of December. I am really excited about the Smart business and believe we really have an opportunity to create a unique shopping and driving experience in the retail automotive space. And again, I think for this reason, we continue to believe the Smart distribution business will be another key differentiator within the Penske Automotive business model.
 

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:confused:
So if selling of 20 to 25k is all Penske expects for 2008, what about the 35K reservations? There is a 10,000 car difference that is not being discussed.
 

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The Early Bird gets the worm

:confused:
So if selling of 20 to 25k is all Penske expects for 2008, what about the 35K reservations? There is a 10,000 car difference that is not being discussed.
No confusion there, Brian. The original production number was 16,000 so they've up'd the production another 50% to try to accomodate the demand already. They have really stuck their necks out in light of the strike over there at the plant in France.
Simply put, the late comers will have to wait until '09. Not to be a wise guy but notice the title of this post. :D

Another popular expression my dad always used was..."He who hesitates may be last."
 

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Penske said on the October video that the first 5000 (April and May) will be delivered first quarter 2008. The rest, later. There will be fallout from the reservations. So far 7% of those contacted to confirm asked for a refund and around 20% never responded and they are going back to them for a decision.

He seemed to say so far everyone who reserves will get their car during 2008.
 

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Penske said on the October video that the first 5000 (April and May) will be delivered first quarter 2008. The rest, later. There will be fallout from the reservations. So far 7% of those contacted to confirm asked for a refund and around 20% never responded and they are going back to them for a decision.


He seemed to say so far everyone who reserves will get their car during 2008.
Yeah, I heard that, too, Dickey. I wouldn't have thought the dropout rate would be that high but that puts the serious buyers up on the list even if they are late signers, for '08 delivery and good for them.
I suspect there are some like the guy from Miami trying to capitalize on the first year model feeding frenzy (by reserving 2 cars and trying to sell the reservation on Ebay) that won't want to wait and so have dropped out.
 

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Penske said on the October video that the first 5000 (April and May) will be delivered first quarter 2008. The rest, later.
Actually, he said that 5000 reservation holders had been asked to confirm so far. That doesn't get them through the end of March reservations (several of us on this forum have March 30th reservations and haven't yet received the confirmation email).

He also contradicted himself on delivery dates. Initially he said that March and April reservation holders would get their cars in Q1 2008. But a little later he said those "from 2000 on" would take delivery in Q2 (which would see to tie in with the change of delivery statement on the confirmation emails).

The good news is he was very emphatic that delivery would be in order of reservation (no cutting in line for "favored customers") and that the price quoted at confimation is what you will pay (his words: "there will be no haggling and no pricing up" at the dealership).
 

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No Mark Ups

Also, Penske will be doing heavy consumer satisfaction surveying via internet, with IB, so we can sound off loud and clear, if a dealer is less than satisfactory in his conduct. Also, this site will probably hear about any hanky-panky by a dealer. Ain't the internet great:rolleyes:
 

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Penske said on the October video that the first 5000 (April and May) will be delivered first quarter 2008. The rest, later. There will be fallout from the reservations. So far 7% of those contacted to confirm asked for a refund and around 20% never responded and they are going back to them for a decision.

He seemed to say so far everyone who reserves will get their car during 2008.

where'd you see those numbers? They seem high for what I would expect from the march group. On the other hand though, probably the number of us rabid smart fans that hits these forums probably accounts for what, maybe 10 - 20% of those who have reserved? I guess getting 25% fallout from the other 80% who might be less enthusiastic then "us" could indeed be possible!
 
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