California Autos Examiner

Monday, January 12, 2009

smart Adds "smart express" National Orphan Reallocation System

smart USA announced at the NAIAS that it is adding a new component to its reservation system. Presently, cars that are not purchased by their reservation holder are orphaned at what would have been the reservation holder's local dealership. It was responsibility of that particular dealership to sell the car. With smart express, smart USA can intercept these orphaned vehicles while they are en route to the dealership. These cars can then be reallocated based on existing reservations held nationwide. Reservation holders would be contacted when a car with the same or nearly the same specs became available and would be offered the ability to purchase that car instead of waiting. Buyers would be contacted in order, so earlier reservation holders would have first dibs. This would be of particular assistance for folks located in areas such as Texas where there is a longer waiting period. Reservation holders will be automatically enrolled in the program. For those cars that are orphaned after arriving at the dealership will still be sold by the local dealer. I asked Mr. Kettenbeil if reservation holders would be encouraged to make their decision earlier in order to reallocate more cars, he said that no, smart was not interested in badgering its customers. I did not get an exact date on when this program will be in place. I found no information about smart express in the 2009 press kit handed out at the show.

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