By on May 22, 2009

A member of our Best and Brightest is smarting from a recent ownership experience:

I am a Detroit born, car loving, long time fan of your site, so when I had this experience, I thought I would share it with you. A year ago I was the proud recipient of the second Smart car delivered by Smartcenter of Beverly Hills. The car performed flawlessly—until last Tuesday. I was on my way to the airport and stopped for gas. When I shifted the selector into gear, the car did not really care. It just sat there and the engine revved. I tried to push it, and the transmission was locked. I called my dealer because I knew there was roadside service, but I did not know the number. The receptionist picked up the phone and I asked for roadside assistance and she patched me through to a number. From the way they picked up on the other end, I did not think it was the right number.

I was a bit upset and closing in on missing my plane, so I called back again, and again, I was patched through to the same number. Very, noticeably upset at this point, I asked for the number so I could dial. She gave me 800.762.7882. I dialed the number and once again heard: “Let our Horny Girls show you a good time baby . . . ” Now, like I said, I am a car guy. I grew up with AAA road side service and my grandfather joined the auto club in Detroit over 70 years ago. I thought I knew would roadside service was, but Smart seems to have redefined it. While I appreciate their perspective on stress relief, at the time, I would have much preferred a tow truck.

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21 Comments on “Not So Smart Now, Eh, Mr. Bond?...”

  • avatar

    Can we assume the roadside assistance phone number wasn’t in the owner’s manual?

  • avatar

    Perhaps they confused it the the Dodge Durango road “service” number?

    For those who forgot…

  • avatar

    I’ve seen that a few times in my 2 years in telephony: the naughty phone lines is a common problem when companies retire old 1-800 numbers. Obviously the adult marketers know which old numbers get the most traffic.

    Question is, what is the replacement number for customer service? Some “smart” regional manager can find it.

  • avatar

    Hmm… how to make a joke that relates the diminutive size of the vehicle with the nature of the dialed service. It could be difficult to insert trifle humor derived from sexual innuendo into the available open context here and expect it to fit properly.

    Obviously the adult marketers know which old numbers get the most traffic.

    Or they just take the canvas approach like with domains.

  • avatar

    Did you speak clearly when you asked for a TOW job ? (sorry)
    As a satisfied 4-year+ owner of an Aveo, please excuse me if I don’t envy your Smarts. My Aveo=$12000/30mpg. One glitch- door cylinder locks that became loose, covered by warranty. Happy owner :-)

  • avatar

    Perhaps they confused it the the Dodge Durango road “service” number?

    Look, I spilled salsa on my chinos. I was just Zout-ing out the stain whilst watching a documentary on Mother Teresa. I swear!

    PS – What a hottie!

  • avatar

    Sounds like the h.o.s. Smart should be renamed “Stupid”

  • avatar

    Have you considered there is no place to carry said manual?


  • avatar

    So who did you ask to ‘talk’ to, Mercedes or Lexus?

  • avatar

    Actually I’m having this real urge to get a Smart car.

  • avatar

    You could have, you know, asked for someone else besides the receptionist.

  • avatar

    This would not have happened had they just equipped the USDM Smart with a proper manual like they should have.

  • avatar

    So who did you ask to ‘talk’ to, Mercedes or Lexus?

    I am sure they’re all sympathetic about how your transmission stick that didnt wanna to go. They could remedied for $2.99 a min or a real roadside rendezvous for a couple of hundred more.
    If this program had been implemented few yrs earlier, ve bet Governator Spitzer would have been all immuned to the downfall. The they couldn’t figure out his Smart car could have failed so frequent.

    God forbid if some Women movement had called this number, they could sue Daimler for gazillion of dollars for sexual harrasment.

  • avatar

    This is a common problem with smarts that initially earned the car a “worse than average” repair frequency in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. But then a few month’s ago they recalled the cars to proactively address the problem. Sounds like this car either did not have the recall performed, or the recall doesn’t always correct the design flaw.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “Have you considered there is no place to carry said manual?”

    The car is supposed to come with a cargo net pouch that velcros onto the back of the seats.

  • avatar

    “Baby, what’s your fantasy?”
    “You, in cutoffs and heels, with a big sexy toolbelt, driving down here and FIXING MY TRANSMISSION.”

    That’s actually a pretty awesome idea – combination stripper/roadside assistance. Maybe we could get OnStar to play some mood music.

  • avatar

    Seriously, though, that’s kind of lousy that your transmissions is crapping out after a year. Your $15K could have gotten you a few hundred thousand miles in a first-gen xB, yanno…and you could still park it in the cart corral. Better luck next time…

    Knowing SMRT, the owner’s manual is probably considered an “option.” Make sure you also opt for the glove box, so you have somewhere to put it! <3

  • avatar


    That’s actually interesting, but you did realize I was joking?

  • avatar

    Wow, replace that Third World drivetrain with LiFePo batteries, controller and three-phase AC motor, they might have something.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the era when my work blackberry was frequently confused with an outcall service. I got many calls from hotels around the airport in Toronto. It was quite fun actually…I remember having a lengthy discussion with a would-be john about our being subject to a job action and the difficulty of finding good help.

    Your experience with Smart, both mechanical and with the ‘help line’ is pretty much what I would have expected.

  • avatar

    So you couldn’t reach Smart, did you have a good time baby?

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