Avoid Volvo until new dealers Wearnes Motors (HK) stops talking in cliches. When Swire unit Taikoo Asian Motors (TAM) finally pulled out of the Swedish marque in Hong Kong last week, we expected its successors to reassure our Volvo-loving readers that they could expect a wider model range, faster deliveries and better service, particularly after reports of the 110 redundancies linked with the outlets' handover. We had visions of owners being told in the service bay: 'Sorry, Stan isn't here any more, and Ronnie will be with you after he's fixed cars on ramp A, B and C, had lunch and put paper in the toilets because Vera also got the push, in about three hours, sir.'
Instead a Wearnes (HK) press release said, hours after a gushing Apple Daily piece on Thursday, that 'with Volvo cars as our strategic partner' the new operation plans 'to become the largest Volvo car distributor in the Asia-Pacific by the end of 2004' and, brace yourself for this little gem, 'aims to deliver an exciting and differentiated car buying and ownership experience'. Wow!
But Wearnes Motors did not tell us about the customer letters a Swire Pacific spokeswoman informs us were mailed on Tuesday, nor how many former Swire people still held their jobs, leaving Foot Down to wonder how many former mechanics were now offering cut-price Swedish massages to cars in back-alley shops. In your interests, and Volvo's, we look forward to learning that Wearnes Motors (HK) is not a silent-running, cut-price Swire sell-off under different spots - and precisely how it will take the underachieving Swedish marque to the Hong Kong status it enjoys overseas.
The dealership might begin with an oil change in its communication strategy and teach the crash dummies in its marketing department about practical customer needs. Until the dealers address Foot Down's concerns, we recommend you spend your money with more forthcoming dealerships; the Volkswagen Touareg surpasses the XC-90; the Honda Accord matches the S60 and we prefer the BMW 3-Series to the often-discounted S40. What a pity then that the glory of Volvo's S80 executive saloon should be shrouded in reticence for its English- speaking target readership in Hong Kong and Macau.
Finally, David Neill of Sai Kung dealers Carrera Cars (9674 7454) kindly invites Foot Down readers to celebrate the Porsche 911's 40th anniversary with the Carrera Cars Quiz, the winner of which will receive a Porsche Scalextric set with a pair of 911 GT3Rs and lots of track. To win, just answer these three questions correctly and be the first to e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. What year was the 911 introduced?
2, What model did it replace?
3. What is the model designation of the current 911?