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Skoda joins in with dealer awards program

First class: Peninsula Skoda dealer principal Michael Beamish, Brooks Skoda DP Cameron Brooks, Richmond Skoda DP Bobby Zagame and Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer.

VW’s Czech brand Skoda joins Ford, Audi and Renault in naming top dealers for 2014

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26 Mar 2015

VOLKSWAGEN’S Czech brand Skoda has staged its first-ever Dealer of the Year awards program after launching the brand in Australia in 2007, naming Richmond Skoda in Melbourne as its 2014 National DOTY.

Dealer principal Bobby Zagame was presented with the top award as well as the gong for Metro DOTY.

Peninsula Skoda in Frankston, south-east of Melbourne, was named Provincial DOTY, while Brooks Motor Cars in Wodonga on the Victorian/New South Wales border took home the Rural DOTY award.

Skoda currently has around 40 dealers and last year registered 3853 new vehicles across its network, up 8.4 per cent on 2013 to push beyond the circa-3500 sales mark it had hovered around since 2011.

Its awards announcement follows other automotive brands including Ford, Audi and Renault, all of which have recognised their top-performing retailers’ achievements in 2014.

In only its third year, the Ford Guild program has a ‘Gold Master Dealer Principal’ award at its pinnacle which highlights the role of the dealer principal in “delivering success, building a strong customer-focused culture and building, coaching and motivating the team”.

Six dealers across the Blue Oval brand’s 200-strong network met the benchmarks set by the company for Gold Master dealer status, with five of these from Victoria: Ron Logan (Etheridge Ford, Ringwood), Cameron McLeish (Freeway Ford, Cranbourne), Greg Draffin (Jefferson Ford, Mentone), Tim Harkness (Courtney & Patterson Ford, Heidelberg) and Gerald Meagher (Eclipse Ford, Ballarat).

Ron Logan and Cameron McLeish are the only dealers to have won the Gold Master award in the two years since its inception in 2013, while Brett Elliott from Harrigan Ford in Wollongong, NSW, was the sole recipient outside Victoria in the 2014 program.

The award criteria cover areas such as customer satisfaction, staff training and levels of sales and service performance.

As well as highlighting the performance of dealer principals, the guild program recognises top-performing individuals in sales, service and parts.

Audi, meanwhile, has expanded its annual ‘Mark of Excellence’ awards program – established in 2007 – to go beyond the top-performing dealerships and similarly include outstanding individuals across sales, service and parts, as well as business managers, ‘Approved Plus’ managers and sales executives who compete in the Germany luxury brand’s annual Quattro Club awards.

Audi Centre Mosman on Sydney’s lower north shore was named the Major Metropolitan DOTY for the first time, taking out the top award from Audi Centre Parramatta and Audi Five Dock.

Nick Pagent is the dealer principal of Audi Centre Mosman, and also has interests in the Parramatta and Five Dock operations.

Audi Centre Newcastle was awarded Metropolitan DOTY of the second successive year, winning from Audi Sutherland and Audi Centre Canberra, while Audi New England from Tamworth, NSW, took out its first Rural/Provincial DOTY title from Audi Centre Ballarat and Audi Centre Townsville.

Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle acknowledged the entire network’s contribution to the brand’s 10th successive year of sales growth in the marketplace but warned against its retailers resting on their laurels.

“Every year the goalposts shift forwards as customer expectations change, and so the brand, and our dealerships, can never rest on achievements of the past,” he said.

“There’s a need for constant change and continued improvement just to keep pace, and so I heartily congratulate the winning dealers for achieving excellence in all aspects of their business.”

Renault also recently staged its expanded annual 2014 Dealer Brilliance Awards, celebrating the brand’s first breach of the 10,000 annual sales mark through its expanding dealer network, which is now out to 46 “active outlets”.

Essendon Renault in Melbourne’s north-west was named 2014 DOTY for Brilliance, edging out Melville Euro Renault, located south of Perth, and Barry Bourke Renault in Berwick, east of Melbourne.

The Essendon dealership, led by dealer principal Don Calvert, also collected awards for highest sales volume and commercial vehicle DOTY, while Melville Euro’s Chris Marwick took home the approved used vehicle award (metro) and Barry Bourke Motors director Darren Bourke accepted the customer service excellence award.

Ballarat Renault’s Ric DeRuiter was on hand to collect the Provincial DOTY and approved used vehicle (provincial) awards, McCarroll’s Artarmon was named New DOTY (presented to Simon McCarroll) and Paul Warren from Peter Warren Renault in Warwick Farm, NSW, accepted the managing director’s award.

The metro and provincial used vehicle awards were added this year to reflect “the maturing of the Renault business in Australia”, the company says.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said the company was continuing to increase its footprint in Australia and aims to have more than 53 operational points across the country by the end of 2015.

“Renault continues to grow in Australia and our recent success has been the spark to drive many independent and multi-franchise dealer groups to us to discuss potential representation in areas where up to now the brand has not been present,” he said.

“We consider our dealers as partners in the revitalisation of this famous brand in Australia and we have worked hard to demonstrate to them our commitment to this market.”

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