Smart Car coming, buyers beware of offerings now…

smartcar.jpg Let the hosings begin could be a better headline. I am a total fan of the SMART car of which we get the ForTwo first quarter of next year. I fell in love with that little bugger when I first read about them 10 years ago when Daimler-Benz partnered with the Swatch company to put out an high quality, high fashion, durable and cheap to keep city car. What a concept…Swatch for interchangeable hipness and Daimler-Benz for its engineering know how. Perfect car for my daily errands and save the bigger car for the weekends and roadtrips when I need the room for the fam and friends. Certainly a lot easier to park.

Probably no news is that SMART has a $99 reservation system in place. My concern has been dealer gouging with “Additional Dealer Mark-up” and other general thievery needs to be avoided. A big fat flag went off when I saw a car on EBAY with bids on a 2 year old model being imported by a non-smart dealer and bidding already over the published pricing for Smart. Buyer beware this is not the same Smart Car that will be sold through the SMART dealer network. Someone figured out how to import, convert to meet minimum federal standards and try to pass off as a “Mercedes Benz Smart Car”. Ha!

Since gouging on new products isn’t uncommon I dropped the Smart Car people a note. I found that the $99 reservation will get you the car for the published sticker price. It may change some. My guess is that even if the price goes up some you won’t be paying the $1000 premium the Glendale dealer is charging on a 2 year old model.

SMART’s official response to my question regarding dealer gouging: “Dear smart Enthusiast, Thank you for your interest in smart USA. smart USA is dedicated to superb customer service. As a result of this dedication, no authorized smart USA dealer will be allowed to charge over the sticker price for a new smart fortwo. However, please keep in mind that the prices shown on our website are tentative and may be changed before the 2008 launch. The price does not include taxes, license, destination charges, and other fees that come standard whenever purchasing a new vehicle. Any dealer currently selling the smart fortwo is not affiliated with smart USA. Furthermore, their pricing does not reflect our company. 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. You will be hearing from us soon! Mili Shedrick Customer Care smart USA 1.800.smartusa”

Note their response also puts in a nice warning about buying the car from a non affiliated dealer.

So…I guess I better reserve my SMART ForTwo Passion, Yellow with the Black Tridion please. I wanna look like a bumble bee darting in traffic.

4 thoughts on “Smart Car coming, buyers beware of offerings now…”

  1. We’ve been debating reserving one of these, but I’m not that impressed with the mileage. Sure, 40mpg is good. But I kind of think I’d be better off spending the extra on a Prius and getting a full size four seater with a trunk in return.

  2. The problem with going the Prius route for me is that the 10K difference in price for my needs isn’t justified. For a the couple of mpg difference I would take me years to offset the cost difference.

    I see this as the errand runner not a substitute for the family car which I need seating capacity for 6 evenings, weekends and roadtrips. (The latter is getting more difficult to find in a car and I refuse to put vans or suv’s on the option list). Being able to find parking during those errand runs are appealing as well.

  3. I’ll throw down here and tell you they’re in stock on these cars TODAY at Colonial Honda in Glendale – but that you’ll pay $26K for it (nevermind the sticker is $14K).

  4. Yes Rutz, but check the ebay link. It’s their car on auction. The problem is that these are not authorized imports by SMART or SMARTUSA.

    They are cars a couple of years and retrofitted to meet minimum federal standards. They are not the actual cars we will get built for this market. Nor are they going to have any warrant support from SMART or SMARTUSA. The buyer needs to be aware the support they get should there be problems will be only as good as what the seller wants to give them.

    Besides, who on earth is dumb enough to buy a car from a dealer who doesn’t even know that the SMART car is its own freestanding brand not a model of Mercedes Benz?

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