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I sent an e-mail and a hard copy letter this week to PAG's Director of Communication and copied Roger Penske to see if they would give us any hint of when further detailed information might be forthcoming. Good news is I got a response, bad news is it didn't tell me anything new. Obviously they are following a plan and we will simply need to continue to be patient.

My e-mail and the response follows:

Dear Mr. Kettenbeil,

I am one of the 30,000 plus people who have made a $99 deposit on a 2008 Smart Fortwo. I made my reservation on the first available date of March 19 and received and returned my configuration request on August 27th. Now along with thousands of others I await more information regarding dealerships, allocation methods, warranty and service details, options, delivery process and dates etc.

Obviously your marketing has been successful thus far judged by the 30,000 reservations. I hope you also realize that we early adopters are the ones that will be communicating to the balance of the consumer market our satisfaction or lack thereof with the car and the purchase experience.

There is a great deal and a growing amount of frustration by all of us regarding the lack of a steady and significant level of communication regarding the cars, their arrival and lot’s of details regarding the car itself. The Smart USA website has contained no new information for months and the responses to questions on the 1-800 phone line tend to be I don’t know or that hasn’t been decided yet.

Most of us are using a web forum at Smart Cars of America to voice our concerns and share information and speculation. I don’t know if anyone in your organization monitors this forum but if they do they should be aware of both the information shortfall that exists as well as the rampant rumors and speculation that is taking place.

Frankly we feel we have invested a little money and a lot of time in promoting the car and in searching for updated information and that we are not being appreciated as significant potential customers for a new and reasonably sight unseen automobile. There is significant risk associated with buying a car in it’s first year of distribution and we don’t feel our willingness to take this risk is being rewarded in any significant way.

Your press releases indicate Dealer announcements by the end of the year and car availability possibly in January. Being that it is now late November we are very anxious for more information.

I applaud you for bringing the Smart to America and am thrilled to be on the short list for early ownership but a consistent stream of updated information and quality answers to all of our many questions would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Dear Ken,
Thank you very much for your note.
We are aware of all of the open points of communication mentioned in your email.
We are very close to announcing and communicating this information. We are on target for the January launch.
Thank you for being patient and your enthusiasm.

Ken Kettenbeil
Director Communications & Community Relations
Penske Corp
2555 Telegraph Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
248.648.2582 - office
248.648.2585 - fax
[email protected]
 

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At least you gave it a good try. Go to MSN videos, there is a new posting as of today with him (Mr.Kettenbeil) showing off the SMART, it is interesting. Again, thanks for your effort!;)
 

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hey, you got a gold mine of info reply.

you have to read between the lines. he likely gave you more than what he was supposed to tell you.

'We are very close to announcing and communicating this information. We are on target for the January launch.'

good grief, bubbles. that there is a wealth of great info.

no, im not joking.

yes, i am serious.

it means

1) there will be some smarts for delivery in january, not march, 2008. to confirm this, is huge info. there could have been hundreds of factors that would have pushed the launch out to february or march, but its on track for january. thats significant. thats ' n e x t ' month.

2) he also leaked to you, hes about to release some significant volume of new information, and it sounds like its going to be released 's o o n '.

if you sat on the board of directors, you may not get much better info.

good work, sherlock. well done. thanks.
 

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They should be monitoring it! They will get a good pulse on what is happening on the other side of the fence, so to speak. It could even help them to fine tune there marketing effort some as well.
I wholeheartedly believe that they are doing the best job they can to get this car out on time. Granted, one may think at times the information is alittle scant on their progress, but they have a learning curve, too, and learning how to market one of most sensational little cars ever to hit the US shores can be a task extraordinary!
 
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