In June, AM100 research revealed a record- breaking financial performance in the franchised dealer sector. Success in maximising the available opportunities rests on the shoulders of men and women in dealerships facing myriad challenges from consumers whose expectations of great service at bargain prices is intense.
The AM Awards seek to acknowledge the high achievers – companies and individuals – in 24 categories, two of them new. To request an entry form, click on each of the award categories below or go to awards.am-online.com/award-categories.
- Jeremy Bennett
Comment from auditors BDO
We are looking forward to this year’s awards process. This will be our second year of involvement and we are pleased to bring our experience of more than 25 years working with motor retailers to support AM in its recognition of the stars of the UK motor industry. We are keen to build on the knowledge we gained last year from meeting the dealer groups and seeing first-hand the best practices that put them at the forefront of the industry.
The 2015 categories
Training and development is crucial to continually improve any motor retailer’s staff.
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, improve and update skills throughout your employees’ working life.
A website is often the first place customers will look when researching their next car purchase and a strong online profile is vital for any dealership to prosper.
Your website is a crucial marketing tool that should bring in a significant proportion of your leads and is increasingly a means to build and maintain relationships with customers.
How you promote your business and the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy via social media is the new shop window – with observers able to praise and criticise almost instantly.
It used to be said that a consumer would tell 10 people of a negative shopping experience, but now they can tell hundreds. However, do it well and you will be rewarded with loyal followers. Some of them will be customers, and those who are not could be in future.
Sponsored By: Marketing Delivery
Television advertising is not a new weapon in the dealers’ marketing armoury, but advances in the data available via digital television networks is game-changing in its ability to target specific campaigns to specific consumers and track exposure to advertisements and response rates.
Dealers’ use of video to highlight sales and aftersales activity has exploded in the past 18 months. The widespread availability of handheld devices means all dealers, regardless of size or brand, can now make, send and track videos.
This new category seeks to acknowledge the importance these related tools play in dealer marketing and customer trust-building and to acknowledge best practice and innovation.
Sponsored By: Sky
Consumers expect dealers to be as adept at using the latest technologies as any other mainstream retailer. A website is just one of the ways in which a dealer can embrace digital technology – smartphone apps, ezines, video streaming and Live Chat are becoming increasingly common in the industry.
This award acknowledges the important work being done by brands to support the dealer network using innovative ideas and the latest and emerging technologies.
Sponsored By: Autotorq
Excellence in Business Awards
Customer service is one of the most important issues facing dealers. Happy customers will be loyal to the business and they will tell others about their positive experience – the best form of marketing.
This award will recognise the most successful attempts to improve customer service from any dealer group or dealership. Audited by: BDO.
Sponsored By: EMaC
Every business can go through a rough patch – what is key is how the business reacts. This award recognises those companies that have put in place a recovery strategy that has borne remarkable results. Audited by: BDO.
Sponsored By: Jewelultra Diamondbrite
This award acknowledges the power of individuals working in a team towards an acknowledged goal in a new and/or used car sales department in the past 12 months.
That goal could be a broad one to improve business generated long-term in the showroom or on focused targets in a burst of activity, selling vehicles and associated ‘added value’ products such as finance, service plans, warranties, etc. Audited by: BDO.
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.
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: BDO.
Easily neglected kingpins of the business, service advisers play a crucial role in aftersales and therefore in the success of a dealer’s business.
This award will recognise the best service advisers, who demonstrate innovation in process, continuous improvement, staff development and interaction with customers. Customer satisfaction is essential, including ‘going the extra mile’ to ensure satisfaction and repeat business.
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 residual value, the strength of manufacturers’ used car programmes and level of engagement from retailers, and use of remarketing. Additional insight from car pricing guide Parker’s, Auto Trader, CAP and Glass’s.
Sponsored By: Car Care Plan
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 2014.
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.
Sponsored By: Supagard
In no other sector is the link between manufacturer and retail as important and, at times, as sensitive.
This award seeks to recognise the brand that in the past 12 months has best fulfilled on promises made by the manufacturer partner. Do the dealer and manufacturer have a mutually beneficial relationship, does the manufacturer understand and work with the retailer’s business plans? Are their clear and effective lines of communication to enable long-term dealer confidence?
Used cars are more profitable than new cars and form a competitive part of the market fought over by franchised dealers, car supermarkets and independents. This award is open to any company or group (franchised or independent) that sells used cars. Audited by: BDO.
A fleet focus is providing many dealers with improved profits. This category focuses on a business that provides excellent customer service to the fleet market, from fleet finance options to dedicated fleet sales operations and service departments used to dealing with the issues fleet operators and leasing providers face. Audited by: BDO.
This category is open to single-site owner operators and to best-performing dealerships within 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: BDO.
Sponsored By: The Warranty Group
The motor retail industry is made up primarily of smaller, regional groups. This category is designed to recognise and honour those companies.
Entrants will be able to show how they meet the AM Awards’ 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: BDO.
This award recognises the unique complications and complexities that come from co-ordinating a large retail group. A copy of the most recent full company accounts will be required. Audited by: BDO.
Sponsored By: Mapfre Abraxas
The award will recognise an individual who combines the needs of the business with the demands of managing a dealership team and customer expectations.
This award is given to the best initiative of 2014. The four winners from the digital categories – best dealer website, best use of TV and/or video, best social media campaign and manufacturer digital initiative – go head-to-head to decide the winner.
Sponsored By: Auto Trader
When deciding the finalists, the judges will focus on the product offering. Not only must the models on the forecourt be right for the customers now in terms of practicality, cost, style and the environment, but the manufacturer must be 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.
Sponsored By: Touchpoint
This award is given to the best retailer in the UK. Five winners from the retail categories – the two retail group categories, fleet operation, dealership and used car performance – go head-to-head to decide the winner. Quality, service, profitability, innovation and a robust business plan are essential.
Sponsored By: Black Horse
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, in consultation with the AM Awards’ judges.
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.