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AM Awards 2009: Search is on for the best in the industry

The AM Awards is about finding the best companies and highlighting their achievements.

It is about pitting your company against your peers; giving your staff a boost by proving they are the best in the business; and raising the reputation of your company with your customers.

Previous awards winners have greatly benefited from the increased exposure and credibility that comes with being acknowledged by the automotive industry’s leading business publication. 

In addition, coverage in local newspapers, promotional pieces on the internet or in the showroom, even advertising on TV in the case of 2007 carmaker of the year Suzuki and three-time used car retailer Available Car, will all raise your profile with your customers.

The awards forms can now be printed off the AM website or requested (see Entry process panel). 

AM Awards auditor MSX International will call each business that has entered one of the company categories to obtain further information on performance and planning before carrying out a full audit of shortlisted companies.

Its independent audit will focus on key areas of the business, including business planning, financial performance, people management and customer relationship management. AM is accepting entries now – good luck!

To enter go to www.am-awards.co.uk. For more details of the entry process click here. To see pictures from last years AM Awards 2008 click here.


The 2009 categories


Innovation

Best Marketing Programme 
Sponsored by: Experian 
2008 winner: Sandicliffe Motor Group

Without a cohesive marketing programme, any company will struggle to attract new business. This award will recognise a cohesive marketing programme that covers all aspects of the marketing mix – Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Best Training Programme
Sponsored by: RTS 
2008 winner: Volkswagen Group Learning Services

Training is crucial to develop staff. The judges are looking for a cohesive programme that incorporates coaching, leadership, skills and competencies via on-the-job
coaching and structured courses.

Best Dealer Website
Sponsored by: Motors.co.uk
2008 winner: Chelmsford Carriage Company

Having a strong profile online is vital in the modern sales environment. The judges are looking for an innovative website that is easy to use, fast, functional, attractive and encourages people to spend a lot of time. It needs to be kept up to date, make good use of pictures and be informative.

Best Environmental Policy
2008 winner: Sandicliffe Motor Group
The environment is increasingly at the forefront of customers’ minds. The judges are looking for a well thought out, innovative and workable policy including examples of how you are reducing your business impact on the environment and how you are helping/advising customers to improve their ‘green’ credentials.

Excellence in Business: Employer of the Year
2008 winner: Sytner Group
Customer loyalty, satisfaction and, ultimately, your business profits all stem from how you, as the employer, treat your staff. Motivated, happy staff will go the extra mile when dealing with
customers. This award will recognise and honour outstanding employers in the motor industry.

Excellence in Customer Service
2008 winner: Sandicliffe Motor Group
Customer service is crucial to the long-term success of any business. The entry must show a genuine understanding of the needs of customers, with a team-based desire
to make a difference. Initiatives don’t have to transform a business, but they will have to make a difference.

NEW Best Community Initiative
A new category recognising dealers, repairers or bodyshops which are at the centre of their local community. These companies support local initiatives; they are pillars of society.
They are working hard to improve the image of the motor industry which is having a positive impact on their sales and on their ability to attract new staff.

NEW Best Start-up Business
A start-up business – dealer, bodyshop, repairer - that has been going for less than two years, as at December 31, 2008. The judges are looking for a cohesive strategy for growth, plus an innovative approach to retailing that makes the business stand out.

NEW Most Improved Company of the Year
Had a bad few years but managed to turn it around? Then this category is for you. It recognises those companies that have put in place a recovery strategy that has borne the right results and is open to dealers, repairers and bodyshops.



Manufacturer

New Car of the Year

Sponsored by: JewelUltra
2008 winner: Audi R8

Innovation, quality and a money maker for dealers are the key watchwords for the AM new car of the year. Finalists will all have been launched in 2008.

Used Car of the Year
Sponsored by: Car Care Plan 
2008 winner: Skoda Octavia

Used cars aged six months to three years. It takes into account residuals, carmakers’ used car schemes and use of remarketing. Additional judging from car price guide Parkers.

Aftermarket

Bodyshop of the Year
Sponsored by: Britannia Accident Assist 
2008 winner: Alton Cars

Body repair is a challenging business with low margins, large-scale consolidation and pressure from insurers. But there are plenty of firms that have the innovation, determination and quality to succeed. Open to franchised and independent bodyshops.

Repairer of the Year
2008 winner: Nationwide Autocentres
Service and repair is one of the most profitable parts of the motor industry and it’s also one of the most competitive with franchised workshops slugging it out with independents for business. This category is open to franchised workshops, independent authorised repairers and non-authorised independents, either individual site or complete network.

Retail

Best Retail Group (more than 10 sites)
Sponsored by: Mobil 1 
2008 winner: Sytner Group

This award recognises the unique complications and complexities that come from coordinating a large retail group. Entrants will be able to show examples of best practice and outstanding
performance across all areas of the business – new cars, used cars, aftersales, bodyshop (where applicable), parts and finance – as well as high levels of customer satisfaction. In short, the winner is an all-rounder.

Best Retail Group (up to 10 sites)
Sponsored by: Auto Trader
2008 winner: Lifestyle Europe

The motor retail industry is made up primarily of smaller, regional groups. This award category is designed to recognise and honour those companies. Entrants will be able to show how they meet the AM Awards’ original criteria of quality, innovation and service.

Best Dealership REVISED

Sponsored by: QBE
This category merges the two previous AM Awards categories of Best Dealership (up to £12m turnover and more than £12m turnover) in recognition that all dealerships face similar challenges irrespective of size. It is open to single-site owner operators and to best performing dealerships within a larger group network – both single franchised and multi-brand showrooms.

Best Used Car Retailer

Sponsored by: HPI

2008 winner: TC Harrison
More profitable than new cars, used cars is a competitive part of the market fought over by franchised dealers, car supermarkets and independents. This award is open to any company that sells used cars (franchised or independent).

Headline

AM Hall of Fame

Sponsored by: Mapfre Abraxas
2008 winner: Alan Pulham and Christopher Macgowan

The AM Hall of Fame recognises someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the automotive industry during their career. Not only will they have led a hugely successful business, but they will also have raised professionalism in the industry, and improved its image.

Personality of the Year
Sponsored by: Northridge Finance 
2008 winner: Robert Forrester

This award is presented to the person who has had a significant impact on the motor industry during the previous 12 months. Their contribution will have made a positive impact to the way companies do business, or to the way the industry is portrayed to the public.

Retailer of the Year

Sponsored by: ADP
2008 winner: Lifestyle Europe

Quite simply the best retailer in the UK. The four winners from the retail categories – large retail group, small retail group, dealership and used car retailer – go head to head to decide the winner. Quality, service and innovation are the maxims.

Carmaker of the Year
Sponsored by: Mondial UK 
2008 winner: Audi UK
When deciding the finalists, the judges looked at new launches, relationships with dealers, and sales successes. The winner will be excelling across all criteria.

Entry Process

Entry forms go online at the AM Awards site: www.am-awards.co.uk. You can also have forms posted to you – call Colleen Dixon on 01733 468306 or email colleen.dixon@bauermedia.co.uk

All entries must be received by 15th November 2008. The auditor, MSX International will then undertake site assessments and mystery shopping in November and December, after which a a shortlist of companies will be put together. The judging panel (see below) will meet in January 2009 in order to assess winners of each category.

The AM Awards judging panel comprises of Stephen Briers, AM editor and chair; consultant Piers Trenear-Thomas; Chris Oakham, Trend Tracker; John Whiteman, ICDP; and Rob Whalley, MSX International.

The awards will be presented at the ICC in Birmingham on 25th February 2008.

The Auditor

MSX International is the leading global provider of outsourced business
solutions, integrating automotive best practices, technology, and information. Its main areas of focus include: 

  • Warranty management.
  • Dealer development and process improvement.
  • Technical support and information management.
  • Staffing, vendor management, and procurement.


Leading OEMs and dealers worldwide use MSX’s proven solutions to improve operational efficiencies and financial performance, including predicting customer behaviour to drive revenue gains; increasing new, used and fleet vehicle sales; maximising service, aftersales, repair and F&I revenue; developing peak-performing staff; and achieving long-term customer loyalty. They are supported by MSX’s 4,000 industry experts.

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