At Automotive Management's black-tie night at the London Hilton on Park Lane, a capacity attendance in the Grand Ballroom honoured the finest in UK motor retailing.
Small dealerships and specialists like bodyshop operators came together with manufacturers for the awards presentation. Some left jubilant, clutching a prized gold award, while others vowed to return and seek the highest accolade next time.
The cornerstones of the awards – 'quality, service and innovation' – were in abundance among the short listed companies. There was a record number of entries and the response from the winning companies demonstrated the significance of the awards for those taking gold, silver or bronze.
Peugeot emerged as manufacturer of the year, with Dixon Motors taking gold in the category for large dealer group. Dixon has been reluctant to put itself forward for awards but, having taken the plunge, was the star performer of the eveining and won four awards.
Former Top Gear celebrity Quentin Willson returned to the awards to honour a commitment as presenter. He made it after being forced through injury to drop out as presenter at the last minute two years ago.
There was little hostility towards the Virgin Cars' executive. It was a night to rejoice rather than express hostility.