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sheureka

Arizona DOT will not register my car

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I just spent a very frustrating 2 hours at the DOT office in Bisbee, AZ. I just got the title, etc., for the car today and went to register it. I bought the car used, from California. It had originally been sold by the dealer in Logan, Utah and was almost immediately traded in for a Porsche. It was then sold to a dealer in California. Anyway, I took all my paperwork in and the only Smart car the agent could find in the system was in a memo from 2006 stating that DaimlerChrysler Smart cars were gray market and could not be registered in Arizona. He called DOT headquarters in Phoenix who also could not find any other reference to a Smart car in their database.I called SmartUSA, and they said because I had not bought the car from a dealer (because I bought it used) they would not help me. I also called the Smart dealer in Chandler, who said they had not had any problem registering the 300 Smart's they had sold but they refused to help me too, since I had not bought the car from them.I have no idea what to do now. Obviously if I can't register the car I can't continue to drive it and my insurance is scheduled to be canceled within the next week if the car isn't registered. The guy at the DOT kept inferring that I was lying about something - but I'm not sure what. Anyway, I really need some help. Does anyone have any idea of what to do? TIA - sheureka

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Unbelievable! I took my '08 into the Kingman, Az DMV and since I bought it in California (and paid taxes there) they gave me a 90 day permit for $15 while they wait for the dealer in Ca. to send them the title, etc. See if you can get a permit to give you time to sort it out. I'm sure they will license it....it's an '08! I had no luck with my '06, but that's a Canadian diesel. Cora

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They're years behind, the car USED to be grey market, not now with G&K and the new '08s. They need to get new paperwork in their office.

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They're years behind, the car USED to be grey market, not now with G&K and the new '08s. They need to get new paperwork in their office.

They told me if it was a G&K car they could register it, but since it says DaimlerChrysler on it they can't. - Sherry

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Idiots!

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If it's a 2008, smartUSA should straighten them out. The car must have been purchased originally from one of their dealers.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It was purchased from the dealer in Lindon, Utah. I have the original window sticker. Now I'm actually thinking of seeing if I can pay the Chandler dealer to register it in Arizona. Talking to SmartUSA (the second time) they were very sympathetic but said they wouldn't get involved with state agencies. The last time I talked to the DMV office in Phoenix they said that it could be registered, but only as a legal gray market car. And that's only because it was already registered in another state. I really don't want to register it that way because sooner or later I'll have trouble with my insurance and I'd certainly have trouble if I ever wanted to sell it.The way I'm feeling right now, I would sell it if I could. I'd just go back on the orphan list. I'm sure I'll feel differently tomorrow, but I love my car and this whole mess is totally bumming me out.

Edited by sheureka

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Get your state representative (politician) involved.

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Greetings:If it was legally imported into the US, wouldn't it have DOT labelling attached to the car? Does Penske not sell in Arizona? I would ask smart USA to give you a letter verifying that the car is a legal 2008, not a 2006. Be polite and offer to pay for such a letter and copy your request to Dave Schembri, President of smart USA. They don't have to get "involved" with a state matter, but are under some obligation to support your car even though they did not sell it to you new. Cars have to be serviced and those "good" service experiences might even lead to future sales. A US legal smart is no orphan. I feel sorry for those yutz's at General Motors who keep making huge pickup and sport utility vehicles while advertising about how (eventually) they will be making green cars, too.Also, offer to share your story with the media (they would love a chance to bash a small, non-American car).On the other hand, if it is not a US legal car, it is not going to help. If it is legal, maybe Club smart car members can mobilize a letter or email writing campaign on your behalf. We could start by writing en masse to Schembri. He seems like a fairly reasonable person and if we went a little postal and dumped a few hundred emails on him, he would probably get the message.Good luck and let us know if we can help.Ian

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the issue is trying to accomplish this over the phone. this should be done in-person at the closest DMV. it will be difficult to explain, over the phone, the differences between the formerly gray-market version of the smart and the now commercially-available smart to a processing clerk at the DMV.

there may also be a case where the new 50-state legal 2008 smart is listed differently in their databases. make: smart may be the gray-market and perhaps the 2008 model is listed under make: mercedes

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I presume that the car has not exceeded the warranty mileage. In that case smartUSA has an obligation to honor that warranty. Even if it's beyond the warranty mileage, they should be eager to intervene as needed to ensure that DOT's that are unaware of the 2008 smart car are informed of its legal status in the USA. It's in their own interest to do so; otherwise, they come across as a uncaring organization.

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i would inquire with the AZ smart dealer as to make, model, type and other particulars on the registrations they are successfully getting for their customers.more and more it sounds to me as if the gray-market version is listed at the DMV one way and the DOT-legal version is listed another. if you know the particulars of the legal versions' registrations - is the make listed as a smart or mercedes, is the model listed as 451 or fortwo, is the type listed as 2-door or coupe, etc. the better chance of success you have getting it straightened out. you should certainly not register is as a gray market vehicle because it is not that.if the smart dealer in AZ is having no problems registering, then find out what DMV office they are using and put yours in touch with that one via a 3-way phone call or something.it's just a mis-communication issue complicated by the stupid gray-market versions screwing everything else up.be methodical, patient and comprehensive and you'll get through it.

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I think I'm getting somewhere this morning -I called the Chandler AZ dealer again, and this time spoke to Daphne (she was great!) who gave me the name and number of the person who handles registrations for the dealership. I'll call him as soon as they open at 9.And I called the dealer in Bloomfield Hills, MI to see if they had a contact at headquarters there who could help me (I couldn't find a number for SmartUSA). She had someone from SmartUSA call me for my information and they are going to have their legal team contact the Arizona DMV to get this straightened out. The woman I talked to said she would get back to me no later than this afternoon to let me know exactly what was going on.So I'm sure this is going to get straightened out today. Thanks everybody for your help! And SmartUSA and the dealers I've talked to today (three so far!) have been very supportive.

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You could also check with the AAA (Automobile Club) they have a good relationship with the DMV and can process registration renewals, so they may have some information. Might be worth a membership.Good luck and keep trying.

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Register it in Utah and the heck with it. If you know somebody that live there it should be easy to do. Use there address etc.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

it's just a mis-communication issue complicated by the stupid gray-market versions screwing everything else up.

The legal gray-market versions converted by G&K did not screw up the system, but the illegal imports prior to them, including CDI's from Canada screwed it up. When I bought my smart 2 years ago (a legal ZAP/G&K converted 450), my DMV took 5 months before I could prove to them that my car was not one of the illegal imports from Mexico or Canada. It is sad if some of the states still only have records that flagged those illegal imports.If the car was previously titled in Utah, then Arizona should be able to do a title transfer without any issues.Tom Edited by idahosmart

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Whew! I got the car registered today. The legal office at SmartUSA sent me all kinds of letters from NHTSA, EPA, CARB, etc. and talked to the state DMV who also suggested going to a bigger office - I think the key was driving that extra 60 miles. Anyway, my oriole is legal now. Thanks for everyone's help and support. - sheureka

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Great news!

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