The annual Used Car Awards are always a source of great pride for the motor industry and this year’s event was no exception. Sponsored by Car Dealer Magazine, the yearly award ceremony took place on November 30th at central London venue The Brewery, and was well attended by the great and good of the motor trade, including a surprise guest appearance from racing great Sir Stirling Moss.
The awards attract entries and attendance from a diverse range of industry folk, from independent dealerships and companies such as Unicom Insurance to the major franchise players, and with more than 20 awards available, competition is inevitably fierce. The 2015 ceremony was again hosted by Mike Brewer, who ran proceedings with his usual professionalism and good humour.
One of the most prestigious awards handed out each year is the Used Car Dealer Principal of the year; this year’s award, presented by Sir Stirling Moss on behalf of the WMS group, went to Robin Luscombe, from Luscombe’s Leeds. His son, Sam, collected the award in his father’s absence. The 600 strong audience was particularly thrilled to see Moss handing out the award, greeting the British sports legend with a standing ovation.
Moss wasn’t the only celebrity in attendance, as the television presenter and motoring aficionado Ant Anstead was present in his capacity as the founder of Evanta. Anstead is well known to the public as the presenter of motoring shows on Channel 4 and also the BBC2 juggernaut Building Cars Live.
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Other major award winners included Anderson Clark, which was named the Service and Repair Outlet of the year, and Dealers’ Dealer, which was presented to Jim Reid. The used car sales team at Caralot won the team of the year prize for their superb record and team ethic, while flourishing Korean giant Kia took the award for Manufacturer Used Car Scheme of the year, as sponsored by Car Dealer magazine. Uber GT of Reading was recognised for its outstanding sales team, and took home the much-coveted award for best customer care.
The place of the Internet in used car sales was again demonstrated by various website and social media winners. Harwoods and Land Rover were recognised for their excellent websites for used car sales and manufacturer, respectively, while Prestige Diesels of Portsmouth were named the Social Media Users of the year for their excellent use of online tools to promote their business.
There were also awards handed out for the leading used car makes and models, with the Skoda Yeti unanimously judged to be the best used car of 2015. The award represents a combination of factors, including resale value, speed of sales and desirability, and adds to the large collection of awards the Yeti has received during the past few years. With superb spec, good price retention and a very competitive insurance policy price, the Yeti could well become a repeat winner. Other cars praised for their excellent used car reputations and value included the Toyota Prius and the Porsche Boxter – though you’re unlikely to see too many of the latter on trade plates!
In addition to company and manufacturer prizes, the awards ceremony also featured two special awards that are presented at the discretion of the judging panel. 2015’s Outstanding Achievement was given to Andy Turner, the Chairman and founder of Chorley Nissan who has operated one of the UK’s best family-run businesses for over 25 years. The final award, for Lifetime Achievement, was presented to Sir Arnold Clark. Having established a single dealership in 1954, Clark built his company up to become one of Europe’s leading independent dealerships and used car businesses, with continued growth and sales.
Lee Middleton, Sam Law and Sarah Stapeley represented Unicom Insurance at the awards this year.