Blog: Dave LeggettHug a service technician?

Dave Leggett | 4 November 2008

It's been quite a day today. The October sales numbers for the US looked pretty horrific. BMW said that things have got so volatile it's not prepared to offer forecasts for its 2008 fiscal year financials. And yet more national car markets were reported as down in October. I have just been speaking to our financial guru Rob Golding and he said and I quote: "I am a very big bear at the moment." Yikes. (Speaking of bears, look out for a Coolbear's thoughts on AvtoVAZ tomorrow, published exclusively on just-auto, following a recent visit. I spoke to him earlier and he confirmed that he was indeed force-fed vast quantities of vodka on the trip to Togliatti.)

But at least the Canadian market was up last month. It's a positive but local industry man Dennis DesRosiers warns that it might not continue. This is from his newsletter, which is well worth knowing about if you follow developments in Canada (or indeed North America generally):

"I chatted with some of the OEMs and they confirmed that some of the strength came from deliveries of products ordered earlier in the year that they now have been able to get to the consumer ... this likely will not continue to the same degree going forward. Some strength came from pent up demand for certain products  ... a lot of consumers have been waiting for the VW TDI product for instance ... Corolla would be another excellent example.  We have a number of all new products newly introduced into Canada and most are in the sweet spot of our market and this is helping sales quite a bit."

Oh well, I guess that's still qualified good news compared with the almost unmitigated sales gloom south of the US-Canada border (I say 'almost' unmitigated, because a few firms actually bucked the October market and grew sales over last year) .

If you really want to cheer yourself up and snap out of it, why not offer hugs in aid of charity? Toyota dealerships in the north of England are doing just that. I kid you not. This is from the press release:

West Riding Toyota dealerships in West Yorkshire has extended the UK's first 'Hug a Service Technician' event to now include all staff until Saturday November 15th - the day after Children in Need.

West Riding will continue to donate £5 to Children in Need for every hug requested - on a strictly one hug per customer basis. And with 62 hugs claimed so far - West Riding Toyota are appealing to at least another 68 customers to claim hugs and help them beat last year's dealership donation of £650.

Customers will now be able to request hugs from any members of West Riding staff in Bradford, Huddersfield and Silsden after bosses became concerned that sales staff might feel left out.

For West Riding Toyota group aftersales manager Geoff Kay said, "We'd like to thank everyone who has given our technicians as hug so far.  In response to demand we've decided to extend the scope of our hugging event so that any staff customers can request hugs from sales staff too.

"We always said that if demand proved too intense, car salespeople and reception staff would be on standby to fulfil customers' hug requirements.  This extension means all staff have been effectively promoted to the front line and are fair game for any hugging requests!"

All West Riding staff been briefed on hugging protocols.  Customers will be invited to choose which staff member they would like to hug.   Wherever possible, hugs will continue to be administered during breaks in work so not to detract from staff roles tasks.


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