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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello -

My girlfriend placed her name (and $100) on the Smart waiting list a few months ago. We live in Juneau, Alaska, and were willing to pick up the car at virtually any dealership in the country and drive it home. Today she called Smart to check on her status, and got some very shocking news.

The Smart representative who took her call told us that we cannot buy a Smart Car because we live in Alaska. Apparantly, because there are no Smart dealerships in the state, they have no guarantee that all service will be performed by an authorized technician.

Is this possible? Does this mean that people in Idaho, Tennessee, Montana, Maine, Wyoming or 10 other states also cannot buy a Smart Car?

Why would Smart accept the reservation payment if they had no intention of selling a vehicle?

I'm shocked, miffed, perturbed, and dismayed. Part of me hopes that we had the bad luck to find a customer service representative who simply didn't want to deal with an unusual request.

I'd be very interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar encounter. If any representatives of Smart read this, I would love to know if it is official policy not to sell to Alaskans and, if so, why this policy is not disclosed.

Thanks,
George
 

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If they can sell refrigerators to you guys (haha, it's an old joke), they will sell you a smart. If they won't, I would!!

On a more serious note, I think they are antsy about offering a 24,000 mi, 2-year warranty and not being able to effectively honor that due to the lack of support up there. Juneau (opps,there I go again), once a dealership is established there, I am sure you'll have to wait 18 months like everyone else. Good luck!
 

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it's your Governors fault! she's not 'smart-minded'! :D

seriously, there is someone else on this forum that bought a smart and drove up TO Alaska because they got the same response. i wish i could remember their name.

my guess is that you may have to go to a smart center in Washington State and deal with them direct. i think you can place your reservation there, they can verify your I.D. and like any other car dealer, they would LOVE to make money off of you.

if anyone recalls the persons name that drove their smart to Alaska, let "ak_jorge" know. maybe by contacting him, you can find a way for you to get your smart! :)
 

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Way up North

Penske's demographics may show that smarts may not exactly be selling like hot cakes in Alaska. So if you buy one in Seattle and take it up there they can't be there for you.
You must forgive them for taking your deposit, for they know not what they are doing.
If your irrational like many of us on this forum (well... maybe just me) and you just love the little thing, then get an orphan from one of the lower 48 states. Consider that everything must be flown in on your nickel though... such as a spare tire, replacement windshield, etc. Obviously you know this already.
And about hitting a moose or bear...well... maybe another backup smart should be considerered.
 

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hey "jorge", the name of the Alaskan is "hallobay". don't know if they were for real or not. found the thread and their screen name and they only posted twice i think. no more postings on his own thread either. hope a polar bear didn't try to MATE with their smart! :D

anyway, you might send them a PM and see if you get a response. there was someone else from Alaska i found that said they were going to smart center Seattle to pick up a smart, but no more postings after that.

good luck with your search! :)
 

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You won't like my thoughts

I see the issue from smartUSA point of view

I think Internet Brands are incompetent in this case, for this reason

How danged hard would it be to put notice on smartUSA web site that there are no sales in certain areas and THEN.... NOT accept reservations from those zip-codes

Back to why they won't sell in certain areas Like Alaska.

They are NOT allowed, by Federal law, to sell a car with NO warranty. So, there is no method for a potential customer to waiver any/all warranty and buy the car "as is". (think emissions laws and safety recalls)

All dealers are contractually required to service and warranty repair all cars sold in their regional cover zone. This means that smart Center Seattle is on the hook for huge recovery and transport costs for a car they sell to a owner in eastern Montana 980 miles away. Currently they have sold cars that far out. If any those cars have a problem, they must go get the car, and once fixed, return it.

The closest Dealer to Alaska is the smart enter Seattle. The cost for them to recover a car from Fairbanks, fix it, and return to the owner is simply too expensive.

There is a way to game the system. Simply use a zip code and address from a Friend or family member in Seattle area, wait a year, buy the car, and ferry or drive back to the distant state.

Bad idea in my opinion because you can not call from Fairbanks and get warranty repair. You would be responsible to get the car back into the regional coverage area for smart Center Seattle.

Edited in: The red above (left for clarity) is pure nonsense now that I think about the warranty contract

These particular cars do have a lot of things a typical repair House CAN deal with.

However there is so much proprietary and secret things that REQUIRE the techs to have access to the manuals, computer programing software, and special tools. There is no way an Alaska Mercedes dealer, or any independent shop, can do ALL repairs. This car does, and can, have a multitude of problems that ONLY a smart center can repair.

In my opinion a motivated and wealthy Alaskan can certainly buy and use a smart car in Alaska. But must assume all the lack of vehicle use, and financial risks with getting it to and from a competent repair house.
 

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I highly doubt that there are any Ferrari, Bentley or Lamborghini dealers in Alaska either (I looked and didn't find any), but that wouldn't keep anyone from buying a new car and taking it to the frozen north. I also doubt any federal court would make the warranty provisions enforceable if the owner knowingly took a car 1000 miles away from the closest dealer. Fact is Penske/Mercedes know exactly what they are doing, they are marketing a boutique item thats not expensive and they also do everything with in their power to block aftermarket parts and service to bolster profitability. Anyone that is a US citizen should be able to buy a smart. Period. Freedom of choice isn't the sole property of corporations.
 

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Right, it's got to do with warranty support - if they sell it to you, they have to tow it back to their dealership if it breaks down. From Alaska that's a long, long drive. I live in Alabama, and bought mine in Texas. They let me buy mine, maybe because they were planning to open two more dealerships within a 4 hour drive of me. I do have a warranty issue, but I'm nice and used tape as a temporary patch rather than make them tow my car 250 miles to replace a $5 part. Others aren't so nice and demand a high level of service.

But my distance also means that if I suspect some minor drivetrain trouble, I can't just pop in to get it checked on a lunch break. That means if there is just a minor problem, it may grow into a failure before I can justify taking a full day off work. That increases their costs, not mine, unless they can see that I deliberately ignored something like smoke.

The irony is that the very system that took your down payment also told Smart that few people are willing to buy a Smart in Alaska. In that case, Smart would have no reason to open a million dollar dealership.
 

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No doubt the reason is warranty expense driven. However, if I take my smart on vacation and it breaks down in a state with no dealer service (such as Alaska, or in my case Arkansas ) the warranty is still in effect and as it is set up, a dealer must recover, repair and return the vehicle.
 

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No doubt the reason is warranty expense driven. However, if I take my smart on vacation and it breaks down in a state with no dealer service (such as Alaska, or in my case Arkansas ) the warranty is still in effect and as it is set up, a dealer must recover, repair and return the vehicle.
EXCELLENT POINT! and while a buyer may say 'i don't care about that, i just want the car', when it comes down to it, smartUSA is STILL RESPONSIBLE.

of course, what happens should a smart owner MOVE from, lets say, Indiana to Alaska.....WHAT THEN? will smartUSA say you voided your warranty by moving to an area they do not service? are they still bound to the warranty to pick up your car, take it to the nearest dealer (Seattle?) and return it to you, all at THEIR EXPENSE?

interesting scenario.............:rolleyes:
 

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You won't like my thoughts
why not? i completely agree with you, Fred. you hit the nail right on the head. but as i said in my previous post, what would smartUSA say if, after taking delivery of my smart from SCI, i were to MOVE to Alaska (don't worry, Gov Palin is there....not enough room for BOTH of us! :D)? will they be able to legally REFUSE my warranty? :confused:

maybe they didn't think this U.S. Market thing through as much as they thought....:rolleyes:
 

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ak jorge - Why not but one in Canada? You could probably even buy a 450 for much less than a 451 would cost and you would benefit from better fuel economy! Ah, Wait....I forgot about those having to be modified by G&K for US import. Well then aren't the Canadian 451's the same as those sold in the US? There is, of course; the issue that you live on an island, but if you are willing to take responsibillity for getting the car to the mainland, or even into Canada, perhaps they would work with you.
 

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If you really have to have this car, buy one off Ebay, and ship it up there. Buy one in Canada, lots of dealers up there. Sold them there for years. Look for a used one. Buy lots of oil filters and parts here in the continental US. If I were a Smart dealer I wouldn't want to pay to have it towed from Juneau, Alaska, if its broke!!!! How many mile to the nearest dealer!!!!! They made a mistake taking you order without a dealer up there. NO warranty support. Take you $99.00 dollars, no big deal.
 

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Here's the reply I got to an inquiry about buying smarts in Alaska and Hawaii:

Dear smart Enthusiast, Unfortunately, at the present time, we do not anticipate a dealer opening in Hawaii until later this year or early 2009, and smart USA does not knowingly distribute vehicles to unserviceable areas of the United States. smart USA is dedicated to ensuring the purchase of your smart fortwo will be your best car buying experience. Furthermore, our company policy is to service what we sell. Thus, our customers must have a dealer in reasonable proximity to handle any service needs before we commit to sales. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us via email or by phone at 1.800.smartUSA. Thank you for your interest in smart USA. You will be hearing from us soon! Alex Pina Customer Service smart USA - open your mind to the car that challenges the status quo 1.800.smartUSA
They did not provide an answer to my question about service for smart owners who move their cars to either of those states. :)
 

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If one cannot expect service in places like Alaska or Hawaii, why not just buy a very slightly used Smart from a private party?
 
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