Congratulations to Practical Hitchin on winning Motor Codes Independent Garage of the Year 2013
Garage of the Year results
Today we have presented the awards to the overall winners of this year's Garage of the Year contest – Sturgess Jaguar, Leicester and Top Marques, Hitchin.
As ever, the decision to pick one franchised main dealer and one independent from our outstanding selection of regional finalists was a tough one and I'm glad that we were able to call on experts, Steve Fowler, editor of Auto Express and Fifth Gear presenter, Vicki Butler-Henderson, to help us make that decision.
To the other finalists, you all deserve congratulating on your status as regional winners – some of you multiple times over. And to all of the garages that asked their customers to support them, thank you for helping make this contest the important event that it is: one that serves to direct customers to garages that commit to the government's approved code – your businesses.
Announcing the results to the wider world, the following press release was sent to media this afternoon:
UK's top garages revealed
Motor Codes award praises most trusted main dealer and independent
Motor Codes, the operator of government-backed codes of practice has named the national winners of its annual Garage of the Year contest, following six weeks of voting by garage customers.
At an award ceremony attended by garage owners, car manufacturers and Trading Standards motor trade experts, Sturgess Jaguar, Leicester, was named franchised main dealer of the year and Top Marques of Hitchin picked up the independent garage prize.
The competition, in association with Auto Express Driver Power, celebrates top-class customer service and Auto Express editor, Steve Fowler, joined TV presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson to hand over the coveted trophies.
Chris Mason, managing director of Motor Codes, was part of the judging panel and outlined why Sturgess and Top Marques stood out from a crowd of thousands of other garages:
"As well as the volume of votes from satisfied customers, we analysed the comments people made about our twenty regional finalists. Though very different businesses, both Sturgess and Top Marques showed the ability to adopt the personal service associated with a family-run business that builds long-term relationships with customers."
The judges, Chris, Steve, Vicki and a lead motor trade officer from Trading Standards, Tim Milsom, also highlighted evidence of a number of shared themes found with the two winners: A strong focus on obtaining – and acting upon – customer feedback, a transparent, customer-focused approach to those times when things do go wrong and an all-round effort to accommodate all types of customer requirement, however big or small a job may be. There was also some good use of social media.
"For a bit of fun each year, one unofficial bit of judging criteria we like to look at is the distance test – how far customers travel to use the garage. Sturgess Jaguar is active on a number of online forums and, as a result, has enjoyed custom from as far afield as Norway!"
Andy West is customer services director at Jaguar and was proud of the win for Sturgess:
"I am thrilled that Sturgess has won Franchise Garage of the Year. Chris Sturgess and his team at Jaguar Leicester work very hard to look after their customers and make great use of digital media to stay in close contact. Jaguar was proud to be ranked number one in the last JD Power survey and will continue to work closely with Motor Codes to ensure that the very highest levels of customer service are delivered in the car industry."
Equally delighted was owner of Top Marques, Mark Scott:
"This is truly something to be proud of, as it's an endorsement directly from our customers. Everyone at Top Marques are over the moon and I can't praise the team enough. Thanks to all those customers who took the time to vote for us."
The winning garages were picked from twenty regional champions – the nation's favourite franchised main dealers and independent garages. 11,500 people voted to endorse the first-class customer service they have received at Motor Codes subscribing garages, all of which commit to the scrutiny of the Trading Standards-approved Service and Repair Code.
On its website, www.motorcodes.co.uk, Motor Codes offers a garage finder so that people can choose from the 7,250 garages signed up to the government-backed code, removing that anxiety all too often associated with finding a trustworthy garage.
Notes to editors:
Garage of the Year 2013, in association with Auto Express Driver Power.
The regional winners, highly commended:
Franchised main dealer category
Independent garage category
All the best
Chris Mason FIMI
Motor Codes Limited