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Auto brands recognise best dealers

Top dealer: VGA chief John White (left) with Brett Buckley and Don Russell from Wippells Autos and VW AG executive director of passenger vehicle sales for India and the Far East, Manfred Kantner.

VW, BMW, Mini, Hyundai, Hino and Foton hand out Dealer of Year and related awards


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26 Feb 2015

AUSTRALIA’S leading automotive dealerships for 2014 have begun to surface with Volkswagen, BMW Group, Hyundai, Hino and Ateco Automotive’s Foton Trucks among the car companies and distributorships celebrating the performance of their top retail partners in recent weeks.

Having been recognised as a ‘master dealer’ for Mazda over the past two decades, Wippells Autos from Toowoomba in Queensland has now secured the top honour at Volkswagen with its naming as 2014 National Dealer of the Year (DOTY) at an gala event in Melbourne.

It also took out the Provincial DOTY title among the other annual award categories, which included: Major Metro DOTY and Commercial Vehicles DOTY: Brighton Volkswagen (Vic) Metro DOTY: Alto Volkswagen (NSW) Major Rural DOTY: Jackson Volkswagen (Tas) Rural DOTY: Albany Volkswagen (WA) and Volkswagen Financial Services Award: Kevin Dennis Volkswagen (Vic).

On hand to accept the awards were Wippells dealer principal Don Russell and general manager Brett Buckley.

Volkswagen Group Australia managing director John White paid tribute to the entire VW dealer network during a year in which the German brand held firm on around 54,800 sales – 0.2 per cent down on 2013 as the overall industry fell 2.0 per cent.

“Our dealers are our partners in business and our biggest assets, and I applaud the efforts of all our 2014 Dealer of the Year award recipients,’’ Mr White said. “Volkswagen’s success in Australia would not be possible without the commitment, hard work and passion of our dealers and their staff.”

BMW Group Australia, which achieved record sales of almost 23,000 units last year (up 10.7 per cent on 2013), named McGuigan BMW from Port Macquarie, NSW, as its 2014 DOTY.

McGuigan BMW dealer principal Shane McGuigan accepted the award – as well as the gong for Rural DOTY – while other category winners included: Metro DOTY: BMW Sydney (NSW) Small Metro DOTY Motorline (Qld) Provincial DOTY: Rolfe Classic (ACT) and three BMW Financial Services Awards to Adelaide BMW (SA), Waverley BMW (Vic) and Toowoomba BMW (Qld).

Mini Excellence Awards were also announced, with the winning dealers (across three categories) Kings Way Mini Garage (Vic), Motorline Mini Garage (Qld) and Coastline Mini Garage (Qld).

“There are many stakeholders critical to the success of the BMW organisation, but it is well recognised the dealer network makes one of the strongest contributions to our brand’s ongoing success,” said BMW Group Australia managing director Marc Werner.

Hyundai recently presented its second annual dealer awards under its ‘Platinum’ program in Melbourne, with Jefferson Hyundai in Mentone, Victoria, taking out the Platinum DOTY award for the second consecutive year.

In receiving the award from Hyundai Motor Co Australia (HMCA) CEO Charlie Kim, Jefferson Hyundai dealer principal Greg Draffin said: “Jefferson Hyundai’s highest priority is our customers and ensuring they are aware of the great many ways the Hyundai brand can add true value to their day-to-day lives and why we are their brand of choice.

“I am very proud of the entire team at Jefferson Hyundai and what they have achieved in 2014.” Meanwhile, Peter Stevens Hyundai in Ballarat (Vic) received Platinum dealership status for outstanding sales CSI, while Sunco Hyundai in Maroochydore (Qld) took out the Service CSI award.

Several other dealerships were recognised for their performance in 2014, including Bartons Hyundai (Qld), Castle Hill Hyundai (NSW), Cranbourne Hyundai (Vic), DC Motors Hyundai (Qld), Harrison Hyundai (Vic), Heartland Hyundai (NSW), JH Rosewarne (SA), Lakes Hyundai (Qld), Peninsula Hyundai (NSW), Phil Gilbert Hyundai (NSW) and Robina Hyundai (Qld).

Selling through 163 dealerships nationally, Hyundai cracked the 100,000-unit mark last year to be the fourth-biggest-selling brand in Australia, just behind Mazda and within striking distance of second-placed Holden.

Toyota’s truck division Hino also recently held its DOTY awards at a ceremony in Sydney, marking not only the efforts of its retailers but its 50th anniversary of selling trucks and buses in Australia.

For the second year running, CMI Adelaide (SA) was named Metropolitan DOTY and Newcastle Hino (NSW) Regional DOTY.

CMI Hino Adelaide general manager Chris Morrison said: “It shows that when you do the little things right, the big things happen naturally. It comes from the culture of our business: we treat our customers the way we’d like to be treated, and we were consistent across all areas of the business.”

CMI Adelaide also took out the Metropolitan Service Excellence category.

Other Hino award winners included: Metropolitan Sales Volume and Metropolitan Sales Excellence: Adtrans Hino (NSW) Regional Sales Volume: Newcastle Hino (NSW) Regional Sales Excellence: Illawarra Hino (NSW) Metropolitan Parts Excellence and Hino Financial Services Award: WA Hino Regional Parts Excellence: West Orange Motors (NSW) and Regional Service Excellence: Vanderfield Hino Toowoomba (Qld).

Hino Motor Sales Asia and Oceania sales and marketing officer Takeo Saito attended the ceremony and described Australia as an important cog in the Japanese brand’s global operations.

“Global sales of Hino trucks increased in 2014, reaching a total of over 168,000 units,” Mr Saito said. “Australia has played an important role in achieving this, and it ranks eighth in the more than 80 countries where the brand is sold.”

Hino managed just over 4000 sales in Australia last year, down 2.5 per cent on 2013 as the heavy commercial industry overall fell 1.2 per cent.

Foton Trucks, meanwhile, has announced that Perth’s WA Truck Centre was the best-selling dealer for the Chinese brand across its burgeoning dealer network – now out to two dozen sites – in Australia last year, delivering 27 Fotons from a total of 174 for the entire brand under new distributor Ateco Automotive.

“Congratulations to Phil Winkless, Brad Daff and his team at WA Truck Centre headed by Gerald Cunnold for becoming our first number-one Australian Foton dealer for 2014,” said Foton Trucks general manager Alex Stewart.

“It may seem like a modest sales tally compared for most truck brands, however Foton is still new in Australia, we consider this to be a restart and we still have a job to communicate our value and brand proposition to buyers.”

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