Major mainstream car brands and their models were among the big winners at the inaugural Workshop Magazine Awards last night.
The awards, which were created to celebrate the best of the best in the UK’s massively important automotive aftermarket sector, were presented at a glitzy black tie ceremony in London hosted by British F1 legend Johnny Herbert.
The industry is now worth a colossal £21.6 billion each year – £12.5 billion of which contributes directly to the British economy – and supports a whopping 347,000 jobs.
Honda was the evening’s big winner, taking home two of the most hotly-contested awards – Manufacturer of the Year and Car of the Year for the Jazz supermini.
Votes in the Manufacturer of the Year category were open to anyone and could be made in recognition of new or older used models.
But Honda stood head and shoulders above the competition with the judges saying the brand did more than any other to support those working on its models.
This was underlined when the Honda Jazz was named Car of the Year.
The judges said technicians would ‘breathe a sigh of relief’ whenever a Jazz rolled into their workshop as its logical design makes it easy to diagnose faults and simple to repair while parts are easy to source.
Meanwhile, the award for Most Reliable Car of the Year went to the ‘strong and stable’ Volvo V40 – a car the judges found would rarely be found in a workshop for anything other than a routine service.
The Manufacturer Warranty Scheme of the Year title went to Kia for its now famous seven-year warranty. The judges found it to be a ‘solid’ warranty held in incredibly high regard by workshops for the speed at which the manufacturer would process claims and the availability of parts.
And on the subject of parts, Nissan was named OEM Parts Supplier of the Year. A favourite of parts managers everywhere, the brand was recognised for the speed and efficiency with which it could get parts to workshops.
Finally, the Workshop Innovation of the Year award went to Hyundai Workshop Automation, a system combining key workshop processes to make the customer journey more seamless, enhance transparency and improve communication.
James Baggott, founder and publisher of Workshop Magazine, said: “The aftermarket industry is massively important to the UK economy, servicing more than 30 million cars every year at an average cost of £706.
“It’s therefore fitting that the Workshop Magazine Awards celebrate the incredible work that goes on around the country every day to keep this success story going.”
He added: “Brexit is looming large on the industry and experts warn that without the right deal the cost of the average service could rise 10 per cent.
“But whatever Brexit brings there’s no doubt the aftermarket industry will continue to work in the tireless and professional manner our awards judges have seen first hand.”
In addition to the manufacturers, awards were also given to the very best apprentices, vehicle technicians, independent garages and suppliers as well as to those who have made exceptional contributions to the industry.
The full list of award winners is as follows:
Motor Factor of the Year – Euro Car Parts
Tyre Retailer of the Year – Blackcircles.com
Equipment Supplier of the Year – Snap-on
Apprentice of the Year – Samuel Warren – Eurovans Eastbourne, part of the JCB Group
Technician of the Year – Nigel Spalding, MOT City
Workshop Manager of the Year – Simon Cook, ACC UK Ltd
Outstanding Achievement Award – Bob Barringer, SMaRT Garage Services
Lifetime Achievement Award – Terry Gibson, Independent Garage Association (IGA)
Social Media User of the Year – Redgate Lodge
Workshop Website of the Year – Cedar Garage
Classic Car Restoration Garage of the Year – AV Classics
Fast-Fit Centre of the Year – Westgate Tyres
MoT Centre of the Year – Russell Automotive Centre
Best Customer Care – Cedar Garage
Specialist Garage of the Year – AW Motorsport
Independent Garage of the Year (Scotland) – Anderson Clark Motor Repairs
Independent Garage of the Year (Wales) – S&J Garage
Independent Garage of the Year (Northern Ireland) – Toal Truck Services
Independent Garage of the Year (Northern England) – Whittles Garage
Independent Garage of the Year (Southern England) – Field’s Car Centre
Independent Garage of the Year (overall) – Anderson Clark Motor Repairs
Product Innovation of the Year – Hyundai Workshop Automation
Manufacturer Warranty Scheme of the Year – Kia Motors UK
OEM Parts Supplier of the Year – Nissan
Manufacturer of the Year – Honda UK
Most Reliable Car – Volvo V40
Car of the Year – Honda Jazz