AM Online

Pit yourself against the best

Over the next few months AM is searching out the best companies in the automotive industry – that's franchised retailers, independent car dealers, repairers, bodyshops, suppliers and carmakers.

The AM Awards recognise the best companies in the UK. We rate them by quality, service and innovation against a check list of subjects we believe best characterise the best businesses. They are:

Planning & strategy – assessing business and marketing plans
People management – looking at recruitment plans and training
Operational processes within the business
Performance monitoring – assessing financial performance, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.

Entries are self-nominated for every category. In addition, we want your nominations for the carmaker used car programme and fast-fit programme, factor/distributor and e-commerce categories. Independent consultant Carter & Carter will carry out the auditing through a combination of face-to-face interviews and mystery shopping exercises.

Carter & Carter's feedback will be taken into account by the AM judging panel, which will make the final decisions in late January. Stephen Briers, AM editor, will chair the panel, which consists of three highly respected industry experts: Piers Trenear-Thomas at Grant Thornton Motor Retail, John Kiff, of the International Car Distribution Programme, and Chris Oakham, Sewells Information and Research consultant.

The awards will be presented at the prestigious AM Awards night on Thursday February 26, 2004, at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

Six steps to become an AM Award winner

Are you thinking about entering the AM Awards 2004? This is what you need to do:

1. Call Helen Bateman on 01733 468259 for an entry form or email helen.bateman@emap.com.
2. Complete and return entry forms by November 30. This year entries are based on a matrix of characteristics we believe are essential to a first class business. We need you to provide a description and evidence of activity in each of the following areas: planning & strategy, people management, operational processes, performance monitoring – financial, customer and employee (greater details about what we're looking for in each of the subjects will be sent out with the entry form). We are also seeking nominations for the carmaker fast-fit and used car programmes, factor/distributor and e-commerce categories.
3. Carter & Carter carries out independent auditing. This will be through a combination of face-to-face interviews and mystery shopping exercises.
4. AM creates a shortlist for each category which will be published in early January.
5. AM's expert judging panel picks the winners.
6. Winners receive their awards in front of their peers at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, on February 26, 2004.

Anyone who believes theirs is one of the best companies in the automotive industry should apply. If that's you, get your entry in as soon as possible.

How we choose the winners

Retailer of the year: Chosen from the retailer group winners, this business will be setting the benchmark for others. 2003 Winner: Whitehouse Group
Carmaker of the year: The carmaker that has launched the best models and established the strongest retailer relationships. 2003 Winner: Mercedes-Benz
Personality of the year: The AM editor's choice will have made an outstanding contribution to the motor industry in 2003. 2003 Winner: Sir Peter Vardy
Large retail group: The group with 10 or more outlets that displays excellent levels of process and performance. 2003 Winner: Whitehouse Group
Small retail group: Fewer than 10 sites, intelligent investment, strong performance will decide the winner 2003 Winner: Wayside Group
Volume dealership: The winner will show strong performance, customer/ employee standards and cost control. 2003 Winner: Perrys Rotherham
Small/niche dealership: The company making the most from a smaller/niche franchise to return strong profits. 2003 Winner: Meadens
Used car retailer: Process, people (customers and employees) and performance will determine the 2004 winner. 2003 Winner: Peoples Ltd
Carmaker used car scheme: Nominations from retailers, combined with assessments will decide the winner. 2003 Winner: new award
Carmaker fast-fit programme: Similar to the used car scheme, nominations will help decide the winner. 2003 Winner: new award
Bodyshop: The business that is handling the rising demands of insurers and consumers to turn strong results. 2003 Winner: Karl Vella
Repairer: The winner will combine high service levels with quality repairs. 2003 Winner: Nationwide Autocentres
Factor/distributor: The supplier, large or small, that offers its customers consistently high levels of service and support. 2003 Winner: AA Tyre Fitting
E-commerce: The company offering retailers or repairers an innovative solution to improve their businesses. 2003 Winner: Ebbon-Dacs
Marketing: The company that has developed the most in-depth marketing plan – and has the results to prove it. 2003 Winner: Peoples Ltd
Training: The winner will have a structured training plan that is developing and improving its staff. 2003 Winner: Perrys Motor Sales

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