2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the AM Awards. With each passing year AM has worked hard to ensure its judging process is as rigorous as it is fair and the awards go to those who are the most deserving.
And 2011 will be no exception. We are again delighted to have MSX International as our auditors and together we have refined the judging process and categories to be as confident as we can the awards view the industry as a whole and highlight the real achievers.
There are three new categories. The first is Best Digital Initiative, aimed at acknowledging that the best use of technology goes way beyond having an effective website, but can entail a range of high tech wizardry that should support a holistic business strategy and work alongside more traditional sales and marketing techniques.
The second new award, Sales Team of the Year, recognises the value of teamwork and will recognise the make-up of the team plus the positive impact individuals working effectively together towards an acknowledged goal has had on the business.
Franchise of the Year, the third new category, will acknowledge the importance of relationships between dealers and manufacturers, looking beyond the model range at a successful partnership, working towards mutual benefit in particularly trying economic times to deliver customer satisfaction and profitability.
An AM Award brings with it the respect of the industry and publicly acknowledges the importance of the people in your business. The journey to winning an AM Award begins here.
Next Page: The categories and last year's winners
Best Dealer Website
Sponsored by: Motors.co.uk
Having a strong profile online is vital for a dealership to prosper. It is often the first place a customer will look when researching their next car. The website is a crucial marketing tool that should bring in a significant proportion of leads and is increasingly a means by which you can build and maintain customer relationships.
Last year’s winner: Autoquake
NEW Best Digital Initiative
Sponsored by: AutoTrader
There’s more to digital technology than a website: smart phones, sms, ezines, apps, video streaming and live chat are just some of the buzzwords becoming increasingly common in the industry in the last 12 months. This award focuses on how a business has been able to move beyond a website to truly embrace new technologies.
Best Marketing Initiative
Marketing is about more than just advertising your business. It’s an ongoing process of planning and executing the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion) for products, services or ideas to create exchange between individuals and organisations. Marketing includes advertising, distribution and selling. It is also concerned with anticipating the customers’ future needs, which are often discovered through market research.
Last year’s winner: HPI
Best Training Programme
Training is crucial to continually develop your staff. Training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. In addition to the basic training required for a trade, occupation or profession, there is a need to continue training beyond initial qualifications to maintain, upgrade and update skills throughout working life, i.e. to aid continual professional development.
Last year’s winner: Nationwide Autocentres
Excellence in Business
Excellence in Customer Service
Sponsored by: EMaC
Customer service is one of the most important issues facing retailers, repairers and bodyshops. Outstanding customer service is crucial to the long-term success of any business. Happy customers will be loyal to the business and they will tell others about their positive experience – the best form of marketing. Audited by: MSX International.
Given the importance of customer service, programmes and initiatives that work deserve recognition and this award is designed for that purpose.
The award will recognise the most successful attempts to improve customer service from any retailer, repairer or bodyshop. Entries accepted from franchised and independent car and LCV dealers.
Last year’s winner: Marshall Motor Group
Most Improved Company of the Year
Sponsored By: Total
Every business can go through a rough patch if the eye is taken off the ball – what’s key is how the business reacts. This award recognises those companies that have put in place a recovery strategy that has borne the right results. It is open to dealers, repairers and bodyshops. Audited by: MSX International. Entries accepted from franchised and independent car and LCV dealers
Last year’s winner: Marshall Honda
NEW Sales Team of the Year (new or used cars)
A business has to work as a team to work effectively and this new award acknowledges the power of individuals working together towards an acknowledged goal in a new and/or used car sales department in the last 12 months. The goal could be a broad one to improve business generated long-term in the showroom or on focussed targets in a burst of activity. Audited by: MSX International. Entries accepted from franchised and independent car and LCV dealers.
Aftersales Operationof the Year
Sponsored By: Castrol Professional
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 – and crucial as the new car market remains unstable. Only those companies that offer value for money and high levels of customer service will succeed. This category is open to franchised workshops and independent authorised repairers, either individual site or complete network. Audited by: MSX International
Last year’s winner: Nationwide Autocentres
Used Car of the Year
Sponsored By: Car Care Plan
This category considers used cars aged six months to three years. It takes into account the quality of cars, how well they have retained their value, the strength of manufacturers’ used car programmes and level of engagement from retailers, and use of remarketing. Additional judging from car pricing guide Parker’s.
Last year’s winner: Kia Cee’d
New Car of the Year
Sponsored By: Supagard
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 during 2010. They will have made an immediate impact on the market by moving on the segment while dealers will be able to exceed targets without discounting. Quality will be exceptional, driving
performance will impress and the car will be designed for maximum appeal.
Last year’s winner: Citroën C3 Picasso
NEW Franchise of the Year
Sponsored By: Ai Automotive
In no other sector is the link between manufacturer and retail so important and at times as sensitive. This new award seeks to recognise the brand that in the last 12 months for dealers has fulfilled on promises made by the manufacturer partner. Does the dealer and the manufacturer have a mutually beneficial relationship, does the manufacturer understand and work with – and not against – the retailers’ business plans particularly where it involves more than one brand? And are there clear and effective lines of communication to enable long-term dealer confidence? Audited by: MSX International. Entries accepted from car and LCV manufacturers and dealers. Manufacturer entries must include supporting evidence from dealers as part of the entry.
Best Used Car Retailer
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) and is intended to recognise those who have turned the practice into an art form – not to say a hugely successful and profitable business. Audited by MSX International. Entries accepted from franchised and independent car and LCV dealers.
Last year’s winner: Thame Service Station
Sponsored by: QBE European Operations
This category is open to single-site owner operators and to best performing dealerships with a larger group network – both single franchised and multi-franchised showrooms. It will recognise the performance of each individual, team and department in a dealership, rewarding – where appropriate – sales, marketing, new and used car sales, the workshop and administration. Audited by: MSX International. Entries accepted from franchised car and LCV dealers.
Last year’s winner: Marshall Jaguar Cambridge
Best Retail Group (up to 10 sites)
Sponsored by: Mapfre abraxas
The motor retail industry is made up primarily of smaller, regional groups. This award category is designed to recognise and honour those companies – ones with up to 10 dealerships. Entrants will be able to show how they meet the AM Awards’ original criteria of quality, innovation and service and how they have tracked their performance improvement over the past five years. A copy of the most recent full company accounts will be required. Audited by MSX International.
Last year’s winner: Mapfre abraxas
Best Retail Group (more than 10 sites)
As the industry consolidates, retail groups are getting bigger. This award recognises the unique complications and complexities that come from co-ordinating a large retail group, one with more than 10 dealerships. Entrants will be able to show how they meet the AM Awards’ original criteria of quality, innovation and service and how they have tracked their performance improvement over the past five years. A copy of the most recent full company accounts will be required. Audited by MSX International.
Last year’s winner: Lifestyle Europe
Carmaker of the Year
Sponsored by: Mondial Assistance
When deciding the finalists, the judges will focus on the product offering. Not only are the models on the forecourt right for the customers now in terms of practicality, cost, style and the environment, but is the manufacturer making a clear statement of intent on the development of new models and supporting technologies that is matched by a track record of delivering on promises. Is the manufacturer sensitive to the voice of the consumer, the winds of change blowing through the legislative landscape and dealer feedback when it comes to product planning? These will be key considerations for the judges.
Last year’s winner: Hyundai
NEW Supplier of the Year
In the same way a dealership wouldn’t be able to function without vehicles to put in its showroom, our industry would grind to a halt if it weren’t for the suppliers operating in the myriad of different sectors and disciplines, from training and consultancy, skills training and recruitment to parts, paints, oils and lubricants and software. This new award signals a first for AM: suppliers in every sector will be invited to tell us why they deserve the award. AM’s audience will then be asked to vote for the winner, who will then be able to use the award in its promotional campaigns throughout 2011. Entries accepted from all suppliers to UK car and LCV franchised and independent dealers.
Retailer of the Year
This award is given to 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, profitability, innovation and a robust business plan are essential.
Last year’s winner: Lifestyle Europe
Personality of the Year
This award is presented to the person who has had the biggest impact on the motor industry during the previous 12 months. Their contribution will have made a significant positive impact to the way companies do business or to the way the industry is portrayed to the public. The recipient is decided by AM editor Jeremy Bennett.
Last year’s winners: Sue Robinson and Paul Everitt
AM Hall of Fame
Each year 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 helped improve its image. Without them the motor industry would be a poorer place. The recipient is decided by the editor of AM, Jeremy Bennett.
Last year’s winner: Ken Surgenor
Auditor - MSX International
Every day its hundreds of consultants are visiting dealerships across the UK and, this year, they will be looking out for potential winners in each of the categories as they go about their business.
They will be passing on the information to AM. We will then invite the named companies or individuals to enter the awards.
In this way you can expect the entries to be more wide ranging than before and a much more complete representation of the market.
Combining information from visits with a follow-up call once the company has entered to look deeper into its performance and planning abilities, MSX International will then carry out a full audit of shortlisted companies.
Its independent audit will focus on key areas of the business, including planning, financial performance, people management and customer relationship management.
Sponsorship of the AM Awards ranging from silver and gold category sponsorship through to evening entertainment, pre-dinner drinks and other bespoke
packages are available.
To align your business with the prestige of the AM Awards 2011, please contact Sarah Wilson on 01733 468320 for more details.