The countdown has begun to UK motor retail’s annual highlight. The AM Awards 2016 will take place on February 11, 2016, but the event is now open for entries at am-awards.co.uk.
Aren’t you proud of your business and its achievements in motor retail? Of course you are, so shouldn’t you enter the AM Awards 2016 and let AM recognise and celebrate your successes?
The AM Awards 2016 seeks to acknowledge the high achievers – companies and individuals – in 26 categories. Three of them are new and relate to van retailing, service reception and environmental initiatives.
The judges, who now include industry veteran and previous winner, former Perrys Motor Sales chief executive Ray Sommerville, plus the auditors BDO and the AM team look forward to reading your entries and to welcoming you at the ICC in Birmingham.
So, are you in it to win it?
The 2016 categories
Best Dealer Website
A website is increasingly the first place customers will look when researching their next vehicle purchase and a strong online profile is vital for any dealer 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.
Best Use of Social Media
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 others could well be in future.
Sponsored by: Marketing Delivery
Best Use of Television and/or Video
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 grown exponentially in a short time. The availability of handheld devices means all dealers, regardless of size or brand, can now make, send and track videos in their sales and aftersales departments.
This category seeks to acknowledge the importance these related tools play in dealer marketing and customer trust-building and to acknowledge best practice and innovation.
Best Manufacturer Digital Innovation
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 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 in all areas of digital media.
EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS AWARDS
Best Training and Development Programme
Training and development are 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.
Best Retailer Environmental Initiative
Environmental concerns continue to grow in importance and will increasingly be at the forefront of customers’ minds, instilled by apocalyptic warnings from environmentalists and increasing media coverage of the growing appetite among UK and European legislators to insist the ‘green’ agenda is taken seriously. How businesses tackle the environmental issue will impact on their long-term success and profitability, not to mention their obligations in the face of growing legislation.
Best Sales Team (New or Used Cars)
This award acknowledges the power of individuals working 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.
Excellence in Aftersales
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.
Excellence in Customer Service
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
Best Service Reception Team
Easily neglected kingpins of the business, service reception teams play a crucial role in aftersales and therefore in the success of a dealer’s business.
This award will recognise the team that demonstrates innovation in process, continuous improvement, staff development and interaction with customers. Customer satisfaction is essential, including ‘going the extra mile’ to ensure repeat business.
Used Car of the Year
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.
Sponsored By: Car Care Plan
New Car of the Year
Innovation, quality and a money-maker for dealers are the watchwords for the AM New Car of the Year. Finalists will all have been launched during 2015. 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
Franchise of the Year
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 there clear and effective lines of communication to enable long-term dealer confidence?
■ The manufacturer awards are voted for by AM readers via online voting. Voting will take place in January.
Best Used Car Performance
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.
Sponsored by: Autoclenz
Best Fleet Operation
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.
Best Van Dealer
How does your business keep the UK working? How does it meet the needs of businesses of all sizes with vans that are fit for purpose, minimise impact on the environment, limit taxation and ensure the safety of drivers and other road users? This category recognises the performance of each individual, team and department in a dealership, rewarding, where appropriate, sales, marketing, new and used van sales, the workshop and administration. Audited by: BDO.
Most Improved Dealership
Every business can go through a rough patch – what is key is how the business reacts. This award recognises those centres that have put in place a recovery strategy that has borne remarkable results. 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
Best Retail Group (up to & including 10 sites)
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.
Sponsored By: Jewelultra Diamondbrite
Best Retail Group (more than 10 sites)
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
Dealer Principal/General Manager of the Year
The award will recognise an individual who combines the needs of the business with the demands of managing a dealership team and customer expectations.
Digital Initiative of the Year
This award is given to the best initiative of 2015. 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
Manufacturer of the Year
When deciding the finalists, the judges look at the product offering, but not exclusively. 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, matched by a track record of delivering on promises.
Retailer of the Year
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
Business Leader 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-in-chief Stephen Briers, in consultation with the AM Awards’ judges.
Sponsored By: Premia Solutions
AM Hall of Fame
Each year, the ‘AM Hall of Fame’ recognises someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the automotive industry.
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 inductee is decided by AM editor-in-chief Stephen Briers, in consultation with the AM Awards’ judges.