Heritage Automotive has been named as Volkswagen UK’s number one franchised vehicle retailer at the German manufacturer’s annual One Business Awards – marking an impressive turnaround for the group.
The Dorchester-based retailer, which was bought out by former Colborne Garages duo Richard Neulaender and John Walsh in March 2016, came top of the ranking at the prestigious awards event which was held at the Tobacco Dock, in London, following the manufacturer’s Retailer Business Conference last Friday (January 19).
Listers Volkswagen Evesham and Swansway Garages’ Crewe Volkswagen operation came second and third in the standing on the night as Volkswagen UK celebrated the best performers in its network.
Heritage’s Volkswagen of Weston moved 150 places from 189th in 2016 to 39th this year, meanwhile, as Heritage Volkswagen of Salisbury moved up 133 places from 180th to 47th in the standings.
Marriott Motor Group was named best retailer group at the gala event, an award which rewards consistent performance across multiple locations.
Volkswagen UK’s management team Alison Jones, Rod McLeod and Kevin Rendell presented the awards to Heritage of Dorchester.
Chris Sansom, Heritage’s Volkswagen brand manager was delighted to accept his business’ award on behalf of all his team at Dorchester.
He said: “I couldn’t be prouder and want to thank everyone who made this happen. To win No 1 Volkswagen Retailer of the Year takes a team effort, every member of staff has to play their part and Dorchester’s team did just that”
Paul Hrachovec added: “What a fantastic group achievement and we should all be proud of the turn-around the businesses had made with these results and the efforts of all our colleagues that went into achieving this.”
Neulaender and Walsh acquired the Heritage group from John Cook who was advised by David Kendrick, of UHY Hacker Young Automotive.
Heritage Automotive was established in 1996 and represents Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda, Peugeot and VWCV across Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Bristol.
At the time of the acquisition, Neulaender said: “Since the sale of the Colbornes business back in March 2014 it has been interesting to be involved in some projects outside of the industry.
“However, we have missed the business and the people enormously and were always keen to return if the right opportunity presented itself to us. We are very excited about acquiring Heritage Automotive and re-establishing some relationships with key partners.”
Marriott Motor Group said in a statment that it targeted its best retail group accolade at this year's One Business Awards after being named as a runner up in 2016.
The statment said that the group approached 2017 with one ambition: to be number one.
Ian Woodward, Marriott Group operations director has helped manage a seamless transition to their new Volkswagen brand director Austin Seales, who has continued the work of his predecessor Robert Rolfe.
Paul Barnard, Marriott Motor Group’s managing director, said: ”This performance will be regarded as one of the most consistent performances ever achieved by a retailer group. It is reflective of a fantastic team effort and of an approach and desire to achieve the very highest standards in sales, aftersales and customer satisfaction. We are delighted to be starting 2018 on such a high note.”