Final judging takes place in October, and executives from the businesses in the running for glory will join others at the awards dinner at the Hilton on Park Lane, London, on November 2.
Tony Willard, editor, Automotive Management, said: “Some people in the industry are saying awards nights have had their day but, judging by the enthusiasm for our awards, that seems not to be the case.
“Inevitably, some people have already been disappointed to receive letters informing them they did not get through to the shortlist. “They should not be too despondent - others have bounced back the following year to win an award.”
The judging panel will be Tony Willard (chairman), Piers Trenear-Thomas (RSM Robson Rhodes) and Dave Sargent (JD Power Europe).
Several categories have shortlists of six, the maximum permitted. There has been powerful entries from companies seeking awards in the sections for small dealership and new start business.
Automotive Management nominates the shortlist in the category for large dealer group. Reg Vardy - which with Pendragon and Lancaster is one of the groups with a turnover of more than £1bn - is in the running. Peter Vardy's business faces fierce competition from Glenvarigill, Dixon Motors, HR Owen, Lookers and Sanderson Bramall.
Bidding for manufacturer of the year are Daewoo, Ford, Peugeot, Subaru UK/Isuzu UK and Vauxhall.
The challengers Aftersales Corkills Motor Group Grasmere Vauxhall Lancaster Colchester (Porsche) Prophets Garage (Sytner Group) Perry Motor Sales Prestons (BMW)
BODYSHOP Brooklands Autobody Dixon Motors plc Holden Bodycentre (Holden Group) Lancaster Europa Bodycentre Perrys Motor Sales Taylors Vehicle Repair Centre
MARKETING Charles Hurst Group (Lookers) Corkills Motor Group Dixon Motors Grasmere Vauxhall Peter Hawke Garages Motor Nation (Bristol Street Holdings)
VOLUME DEALERSHIP Alan Day New Southgate FG Barnes Holden Honda Norton Way Honda Reliance Garage (Holden Group) Toll House Toyota
MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR Daewoo Cars Ford Motor Company Peugeot Motor Company Subaru UK/Isuzu UK (International Motors) Vauxhall Motors
NEW MEDIA Dixon Motors Motor Nation (Bristol Street Holdings) Williams Automobiles Milcars Group TMS Motor Group
TRAINING Dick Lovett Companies Dixon Motors Norton Way Motors Holden Group
LARGE DEALER GROUP Dixon Motors Glenvaragill Co HR Owen Lookers Sanderson Bramall Motor Group Reg Vardy
DEALER GROUP Autoworld Bates Motor Group Dixon Motors Holden Group Vincent Group
SMALL DEALERSHIP OF THE YEAR Bates of Harold Wood Corkills Wigan Holden Chrysler & Jeep Mushroom Garage (Perrys Motor Sales) Sabers of Norwich (Holden Group) Wellington Motors
USED CAR RETAILER Daewoo Cars Lancaster Cambridge (Porsche) Motor Nation (Bristol Street Holdings) Perrys Milton Keynes Vincent Group
NEW START BUSINESS Lexus Newcastle Motor Nation (Bristol Street Holdings) Nick Whale Holdings NMC Sportif Citroen Toll House Toyota Vincent Group