Smart Cars of America, LLC

Smart Cars of America Announces Concerns over Sales of American-ized Non-compliant Versions of the Smart Fortwo

Smart Cars of America suspends promoting Smart Cars, due to mounting apprehension regarding after sales service, warranty protection and inaccurate information regarding non-compliant Smart Car's.


Belleair, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/18/2006 --Smart Cars of America ( announced today its concerns over currently available, American-ized versions of the Smart ForTwo vehicles.

As a result, Smart Cars of America suspends promoting Smart Cars that has been modified to meet strict American safety and emission standards, due to mounting apprehension regarding after sales service, warranty protection and inaccurate information regarding non-compliant Smart Car's.

Sharon L. Johnston, President of Smart Cars of America said, “As the premier source for all things 'Smart,' we have been supporting this unique vehicle's long-awaited U.S. introduction since 1999; and savvy consumers trust us to provide them with the very latest available information on Smart Cars and other alternative and hybrid vehicles.”

She added “While we and other knowledgeable consumers have eagerly awaited the Smart ForTwo's introduction to the U.S. market, a number of substantial concerns remain regarding models available for sale and in most cases we can no longer endorse the cars, till such time as we are convinced of dealer support.”

All currently available Smart ForTwo vehicles in the U.S. are "gray market" cars, as they have been modified by a Registered Importer to meet stringent American safety and emission standards.

It is impossible to order a CarFax report (vehicle history) for gray market cars. As a result, it is possible unsuspecting importers and ultimately consumers could buy a converted Smart Car and have no idea as to the car's origin.

Respected auto industry information site posted an number of key "Gray Market Car Risks" in which it noted that imported, non-compliant vehicles, like the Smart ForTwo, may have been involved in accidents in Europe, repaired and then sold to unsuspecting importers, because, unlike in the U.S., vehicles with European titles do not provide a "salvage" designation to alert buyers that a vehicle may have been seriously damaged.

Over the years, Smart Car of America has made every effort possible to supply consumers with timely information concerning the Smart car, committed to keeping the American public informed and collecting data with "grass roots" participation on a proletarian basis.

Max Fisher, Marketing Officer, said, “We have always preferred to 'err on the side of caution' when disseminating information on this much-talked-about and highly desirable vehicle. Considering the critical concerns raised by gray market cars we will suspend all promotion for gray market Smart Cars until we can be sure that only competent, knowledgeable and properly equipped sources are selling the Smart ForTwo to clients and consumers.”

Before buying any "Gray Market Car," Smart Car of America offered the following key considerations:

Can I get information on warranty protection from the seller? Which insurance company is the underwriter? What are the restrictions on the warranty?

Ask yourself, "Would I buy my health insurance from this company?"

Warranty and repair work is an important issue with any car and with problems concerning warranty deception it is imperative to know the correct information about gray market cars before purchasing one.

David Schembri, now president of smartusa, a division of United Auto Group, the exclusive U.S. importer and distributor, said some time ago, "We urge all to purchase cars through the Mercedes car group. We'd hate to see a customer put in the position that they have no service outlet."

Important facts regarding "Gray Market Cars":

• Gray market cars must be sold as used...
• Gray market cars may have significantly lower values than cars imported through normal channels and retain lower re-sale values...
• The modified-Smart still may not meet emissions requirements in several states, including California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine which could cause denied registration and titling…
• Without any authorized dealer network, obtaining replacement parts and supplies could be problematic…
• Owners may not be protected by state lemon laws…
• Gray market cars are not eligible to participate in manufacturers' mediation/arbitration programs…
• Manufacturer's original warranty on gray market cars is void…
• Warranty or repair work could be difficult to locate…

For Smart buyers, cost and fuel-consciousness are only one part of the total value equation. If Smart marketing, production, distribution and pricing are met with sufficient after-purchase servicing, Smart car owners can be promised Smart value.

The attractive and sporty Smart ForTwo is revolutionary and well-designed metropolitan transportation. Available in Europe since 1998, an all new Smart ForTwo will be commercially available for the U.S. marketplace by the authorized importer.

Adding to our decision, Roger Penske CEO of United Auto Group Inc., which will distribute the cars said in an interview in Stuttgart, Germany, where DaimlerChrysler presented the new version of the Smart. "No incentives will be offered on the car, which will start at about $11,000.00.

Max Fisher, Marketing Officer of Smart Cars of America added, “At current prices upward of $30,000, everyone must be confident existing sources can implement required obligations before they purchase this unique and highly-desirable vehicle as a gray market purchase.”

In addition Mr. Fisher said, "Due to curtailed operating cost, streamlining fixed costs and minimal advertising expenditures we anticipated the Smart will likely sell for less than $15,000 when available in the U.S. and with such a considerable divergence in pricing only special use purchases make sense."

Concern lingers regarding costs, after sales service and warranty protection for U.S.-modified versions of the revolutionary Smart Car and assurances that maintenance and sufficient after-sales servicing can be completed throughout the United States. We are not convinced that available sources of gray market dealers constitute a dealer network that is able to ensure this.

Smart Car of America will make more information about gray market vehicles publicly available on its regularly-updated website:, and pledges to continue providing consumers and advocates of electric and other alternative vehicles with the very latest and factual information about all things Smart.