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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I actually believe the Smart cars will be a safe mode of transportation, readily available, priced fairly and help in a small way with global warming, one day! Hopefully smart, GmbH and smart USA can be role models for new brands and manufacturers for the future.

However, as of yet that is not the case. The public wants and ought to have information that is correct and have available lines of communications! Not just slick slogans and polished advertising methods.

Below are quotes from a smart USA press release.

 

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Frightening,, but it has all the makings of a "scam". I sure hope not. I need a car - now,, and don't know how long I can hold out. At least if they would give some specifics. Not sure what their problem is. Why will they not even release MPG, which is the most important consideration for me??? It had better be over 40MPG or it is not worth owning..
 

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One wonders what the Federal Trade Commission would think of all this, especially the idea of eliciting/accepting money with no apprent guarantee of acceptable or timely performance. I will keep my hat in the ring at least until my invitational test session next week; after that, all bets are off.
 

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Try to be a bit more patient. The actual MPG and crash ratings can't be issued until the federal testing is done. MB and UAG are just trying to generate some advertising hype prior to launch so that they have strong demand going into the first couple of years of sale in the U.S. They have every reason to believe that the 451 will be safer than the 450 as it is larger and almost 50% heavier. As far as the $2.8 million in deposits taken by Penske, that's chicken feed compared with their multi-billion dollar business empire. MB and Penske don't need to scam.

The reason they are taking more reservations than a year's worth of production is that at least a 3rd of those reservations will be cancelled. First of all, whether people are serious or not, they'll easily drop a mere $99 just to say they got one reserved and secondly, they'll get it back at anytime if they want to cancel. Nobody has made a serious committment to buy (e.g. a $1000 non-refundable deposit). In my case, I have no clue if I'll like it when I test drive it or whether I will be satisfied with the options that will be offered. I may well cancel the reservation when I test drive it this Tuesday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Remember Preston Tucker

I do not believe for one second it is a scam, only a marketing ploy. I agree $2.8 million is pocket change and Penske is no way a swindler, only a smart business person.

But there is a lot more to this deal than $2.8 million or the $21 million from the dealers.However, they should and could give more specifics or at least explain why they have not or can not.

Much like the greatly hyped Tucker automobile from the late 40's, Preston Tucker (what smart USA has tried) took his pre-production cars on a across country tour, the car was an instantaneous sensation.

Tucker raised $17,000,000 to try to secure the cars future and credibility. It was one of the first tentative IPO's. They also started the Tucker Accessories Program allowing future buyers to buy aftermarket parts, before their car was built. This brought an additional $2,000,000 into the company. However, this triggered an investigation by the SEC and the U.S. Attorney. All charges were dropped but the negative publicity destroyed the company and halted production of the car. To offset the negative press, he took his cars on the road. Public perception changed from outrage at Tucker's alleged misconduct to anger at the press and the government.

Remember this was in 1947 and at that time that was a pocket full of money and approximately $189,588,794.00 today.

The MPG will be better than 40 no matter what any government agencies report. As far as government agencies are concerned, in my opinion are part of the problem. So I say keep the FTC and other goverment branches out of this, unless the are a solution not a problem!

I agree the 2008 Smart will be safer. The new model is about 12 percent (7.7 inches) longer and not 50 percent heavier than the 2006 Smart that weighed around 1610lbs and all reports say the heaviest model the Smart cabriolet will weigh less than 1800 pounds, around 22 percent more, with more horse power. My concern is not when the federal testing is done, but when will it actually start.

As for one third of the reservations being cancelled, I think that number is high and even if correct they still will be short on the supplies needed. As I see it the only reason no one has made a sincere commitment to buy the car is that you can not.

I still think the reason they are taking more reservations than their allotment is that they can. Just like MINI Cooper did.

Please let me know how the test drive went.

The secret of patience is to do something in addition too, in the interim.

IWantaSmartCar.com has published a Smart car survey. They say it is intended for those who have paid the $99.00 reservation fee or anyone who wants to voice his or her opinions on the subject of the Smart's distribution, and sales for America.

You need to register. It was a fairly simple procedure and a rather well designed survey that could provide facts and figures. The survey style questionnaire has pertinent inquiries that could be beneficial if the information supplied is analyze correctly. It can enable everyone to track the cars progression.

http://www.iwantasmartcar.com/
 

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Where's the beef?

SmartAmerica.

I guess I don't see the problem. I've had $99 of fun already.

Penske and MB have way too much at stake to do a con with the Smart car.
All return deposit requests have been honored to date, or we would have heard by now.

This is just great PR from a master sales team.

This car (Smart) is the big three's worst nightmare. Not because Its a cool car that will sell, but because of what it represents... The first really popular Kei car in America !

Our little Smart cars will open the gates for all the Asian and Euro Kei cars to sweep in to the USA, and with the high gas prices, sweep out the remains of the big three, unless they change their ways.

As loBoy says. "be patient".

All will be well. (Except that damn Getrag trans... until I learn to use it:rolleyes:.
 

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I am not advocating any drastic regulatory action to take PAG to task. Now is certainly not the time – they are just running short on time to be more informative concerning a significant purchase. But in due time, and if things look to go awry (like at the dawn of 2008), they need to somehow accept that the people know that they have the power of redress, as even now some of the American natives are getting restless. PAG can do better than what they have been doing; their reticence is becoming alarming. The Tucker/Penske situation is apples/oranges - the Tuckers were absolutely a new paradigm; the smarts are now 9-years old, and the Euro 2007 version (similar to ours) have been extant for a year.

Having been for about 50-years, on-and-off, a competition road racing follower/rider/driver/car owner (2, 3 & 4 wheels) I have acquired a pique of sensitivity and cynicism. It can never said that every ex-racing driver-gone-businessman is prima-facia reliable. One of Roger Penske’s own racing contemporaries demonstrated episodes of “serpentine” business practices, and lots of us were disillusioned with that icon of American sports car racing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Smart public perception

Their doing nothing wrong or illegal, that I wouldn't do in their position, other than perhaps supply additional information and utilize better communications skills. I'm sure Penske and his group have a better plan than I would beable to come up with. I never said anything about regulatory action.

The Tucker/Penske situation may be polar opposites as a prototype. My statement regarded the Smart cars future and its credibility and public perception.

To the best of my knowledge not many auto manufactures have had cross country tours to promote a new brand? There are many superior and well made cars that have been around for many that can not be sold in the U.S.

As far as opening the gates, the gates have been opening slowly for some time now. The Mitsubishi I and Subaru R2 are well built and reasonably priced, but the Kei type cars will never take over the U.S car market.

The big 3 have more problems than a math book and the smart car is not one of them. Their nightmares are just beginning.

As posted earlier "the U.S. launch of the Smart is certainly not just about selling a handful of $12,000 cars, or introducing a new automotive brand. Selling the Smart is just one component of a very complex undertaking. We are 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. It could be an endeavor of significant importance that may have diverse and long-lasting implications for many of us."

As for being be patient, I've already owned a Smart. It was a great city car and fun vehicle. Didn't drive it at rush hour in Miami on US 95 and that's the truth.

I sold the car to a yacht broker in south Florida who told me it was going to be rigged up as a land tender, on a 125' Palmer Johnson Motor Yacht. He said their marine architects would design a lift and a saddle for the Smart on the aft deck of their yacht. I can't say it came about but that was what I was told.
 

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Weight Problem...

lhoboy,

I agree with everything you say (i.e. chill, people!), except 50% heavier? I don't think so. Smart's own website quotes unladen weight for the 450 coupe as 730kg, versus 750kg for the 451 coupe. That's more like 50lbs heavier.

Mysteriously, the 450 cabriolet is stated as wieghing the same as the coupe, but the 451 cabriolet has porked out to 780kg. A bunch of extra reinforement perhaps?
 

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Invitational Test Session?

One wonders what the Federal Trade Commission would think of all this, especially the idea of eliciting/accepting money with no apprent guarantee of acceptable or timely performance. I will keep my hat in the ring at least until my invitational test session next week; after that, all bets are off.
What is this "Invitational Test Session?". What were the prerequisites to getting and invitation? Where were they held?:confused:
 

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"Invitational Test"

I got an invitation from smartUSA via email to contact my local designated dealer for a pre-public demonstration. This to be this Friday at the dealers own location before the public event conducted elsewhere on Saturday and Sunday. I RSVP'd to the dealer with my smart "reservation" number.
 

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More on Invitational Test

The email invitation actually came from "[email protected]". I'm not that happy with smartUSA passing my personal data on to Internet Brands, but it did serve to get me a quiet no-hurry showing. I hope they keep my driver's license number to themselves! I really am not sure if the invitation was on behalf of smartUSA, or the local dealer. A phone call to the dealer indicated that they know all about it. Either way, I'll be there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
InternetBrands.com

InternetBrands.com is taking all the orders for smart USA.

Roger Penske bought a 10-percent interest in CarsDirect.com for $17 million and is on the board of directors of Internet Brands.

CarsDirect.com is now a part of InternetBrands.com
 
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