CAT Awards 2023: Pics and winners in detail
The annual CAT Awards, sponsored by LKQ Euro Car Parts took place on Thursday Feb 9th at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.
Around 150 guests attended the event sponsored by LKQ Euro Car Parts, where they enjoyed a delicious lunch and listened to a Q and A with four times BTCC champion
Colin Turkington who regaled the audience with tales from the track. The afternoon was hosted by radio personality (and former CAT staff writer) James Cannon, while there was also a magician on hand to entertain the crowd at the post-Awards drinks.
However, the main event was the Awards. This year we had eleven categories, covering every aspect of the modern aftermarket. All of the categories from previous years were awarded in 2023, with the addition of Garage Scheme of the Year. Here’s a little detail about all of our winners in each category:
Training Scheme of the Year (sponsored by First Brands)
Delphi Technologies for the Delphi Academy
In the modern world, there is a lot of training that can be done online, but there is also a lot that won’t really make a lot of sense unless you can see and try it in person; For example, it is easy to write ‘check power and grounds’, but the practicalities of such diagnostics are difficult to explain until seen in person. Enter the Delphi Academy, which combines an extensive online training programme with physical training facilities. We visited the facilities at Titan 10 industrial park in 2022 and were pleased to find an entirely new facility with modern tooling and equipment as well as number of late model hybrid and electric cars. This made the Academy a worthy winner in our view.
Environmental Award (sponsored by Mahle)
‘Conscious Carpet’, what the heck is that? So went our reaction when we first heard of V Group’s latest offering. Indeed, the firm, best known for it’s lines of car accessories sold in dealerships, has not created floor coverings with any level of sentience, but has instead noticed that floor mats are something that usually come with a new car and are usually discarded for a fresh set when the vehicle is resold. Until now, no thought had been given on what happens to the millions of binned PVC and nylon items, but V Group came up with a product that could be easily shredded into pellets that are entirely recyclable.
Garage of the Year (Sponsored by Toyota First)
AAK Autos won Garage of the Year for the second time (the first being in 2018). Based in Whitstable, Kent, it is one of the busiest garages in the area, spearheaded by owner
Antony Jhally. We were impressed by the recent introduction of new equipment and by the rance of services provided, ranging from the ability to repair the most modern EVs to restoration services for classic vehicles.
Retailer of the Year (sponsored by NOCO)
Funnily enough, it seems that we were the only ones not to have allready visited this rarest of businesses – namely an all-new car accessory shop. Run by Mark and Sarah Arnold,
A1 Sleaford was set up from scratch in late 2019. Of course the world changed drastically in 2020 and the Arnolds had essentially moved into a room above the shop in order to keep the business afloat. However, their positivity in promoting local business and creating a warm and inviting marketplace for their customers has proven its worth, because they are already expanding and opened a second branch in January! We look forward to visiting this business soon.
Motor Factor of the Year (sponsored by UFI)
Arnold Clark Autoparts
This category is a difficult one to judge, as customers’ expectations and experience can vary greatly. However, Arnold Clark Autoparts tipped the win as we were impressed on our
last visit by the addition of car accessories and other consumer goods available in addition to the hard parts sold online. We also liked the addition of new forms of e-mobility such as electric bikes that are now sold by the factor, and are availble for demonstration to customers who visit the new ‘Innovation Centre’ situated nest door to Autoparts’ main hub in Glasgow.
Branch Team (sponsored by Boswell)
Factor Group 7, usually shortened to FG7 is a buying group situated in Cookstown, Northern Ireland. The group has a warehouse supplying numerous factor branches of various brands across the region. Running any factor branch is difficult, but particularly so for a warehouse distributor – and when you factor in further issues in Northern Ireland caused by Brexit, you can see that running such a business requires resource, planning and patience. We were impressed with the way that the team works together to fill the orders and to solve problems and hope to pay a visit in person soon.
Supplier of the Year
One of the most contested categories of the Awards, Supplier of the Year is voted on by readers of CAT, and this year the public vote produced a clear winner.
Bosch Aftermarket needs no introduction as it is one of the oldest and most well-respected brands in the business. It has resolved supply chain issues of the past and now offers a range of diagnostic and test equipment for hybrid and EVs as well as training courses on high-voltage systems with a range of options, including online learning and traditional in-person learning at the firm’s dedicated facilities.
Rising Stars (sponsored by Octane Recruitment)
This year we presented ‘Rising Stars’ to an individual rather than a group. Our recipient is still relatively young, yet he runs a thriving chain of the Lindley’s Autocentres independent garages and is also the co-founder of GarageHive, a busy garage management platform that has been of benefit to scores of fellow workshop owners nationwide. On top of that, he is well known in his local community and has helped raise thousands of pounds for charities helping the homeless. Awarding Rising Stars to Alex Lindley came as a surprise to no-one… apparently, apart from him!
Industry Partner Award (sponsored by Automechanika Birmingham)
Garage Services Online
Like Supplier of the Year, this Award was decided on by public vote. Unlike the other category, this one went down to the wire. Ultimately, readers decided that the workshop
management platform Garage Services Online should be the winner. GSO has experienced stron growth in recent months, with the business’ customer base growing by 25 percent in 2022 with the majority of new customers resulting from inbound enquiries. Its reputation arises from the unique business model the company created which enables garages to buy and maintain their websites on a subscription basis. This means garages can access a bespoke website – which is key to attracting their most profitable work – with no upfront costs or significant investment, a service that our readers have found to be of a great benefit to them.
Garage Concept of the Year
Our garage ‘concept’ Award was scooped by GroupAuto’s AutoCare. The AutoCare network of ‘invitation-only’ garages offers motorists a choice of dependable repairers for their
vehicles. Each garage in the network must fit quality parts and has access to regular accredited training, enabling them to keep up with the latest developments in vehicle technology. AutoCare is one of the UK’s most comprehensive garage support programmes, where garages benefit from technical training, branding, marketing support and access to a custom software platform.
Achievement Award (Sponsored by YCI)
These days, four months in the aftermarket seems like a long time, but Maria McCullough has been in the industry for forty years – and at the same company, GroupAuto in its various iterations throughout that time. Maria is known by almost everyone in the trade – and she knows that trade like no-one else. Her department, AutoCare, has a deserved reputation for excellence, as evidenced by its win in this years Garage Concept Award.
The longlists have been turned into shortlists and the information has been put top our judging panel.
The winners will be announced at the CAT Awards 2023, to be held on Feb 9th at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester at lunchtime.
Tickets are on sale now, so don’t miss out – come and join us!
Training programme of the Year
Mahle Aftermarket e-learning
Garage of the Year
Retailer of the Year
Motor Factor of the Year
Arnold Clark Autoparts
Motor Parts Direct
GSF Car Parts
YMF (York Motor Factors)
Branch Team of the Year
South Yorkshire Car Parts
Supplier of the Year
First Brands (Trico)
Industry Partner Award
Glen Callum Associates
Garage Services Online
Garage Concept of the Year
In addition to the Awards listed above, we also have two special ‘Editor’s Choice’ Awards. These are ‘Rising Stars’ which celebrates the up and coming in our industry and ‘Outstanding Achivement’ presented to an individual that has made a particular contribution to the industry.
CAT Awards 2023: Voting Closed!
Voting is now closed in for the CAT Awards 2023.
The winner will be announced at the CAT Awards 2023, held on Thursday 9 February.
If you or your company want to attend and watch the show, Click here for ticket and table options
The CAT Awards 2023 will take place once again at Manchester’s five-star Lowry Hotel – and you can come and join us!
Tickets for the event are available now, just click here. Apart from the Awards being presented and the best lunch in the industry, we will also have an interesting speaker and the chance to network with some of the key movers and shakers in the industry.
Greg Whitaker, Editor of CAT said: “I can’t wait to get the aftermarket back together again to celebrate the best in our industry. Don’t miss you chance – get your tickets booked today.
Meanwhile, nominations for the Awards are open now. Let us know who you’d like to see win.
The CAT Awards are back on Februrary 9 2023 and we’re pleased to say that you can now nominate your favourite people and companies right away!
All we need from you is a quick note sent to email@example.com with an explanation of who, or which firm you wish to nominate, in what category – and most importantly why you wish to nominate them.
You don’t have to write an essay, just a quick note to say why your nominee deserves the most prestigious prize in the automotive aftermarket. Something along the lines of: “I nominate Company X for the Environmental Award for it’s ceaseless and well-publicised work with sea turtles” Well, maybe not like that, but you get the idea.
A question we are often asked is if people are allowed to nominate themselves or the company they work for. The answer is yes, as long as they feel they have a genuine reason for nominating it is allowed. After all, you can’t expect anyone else to blow your trumpet for you, can you?
Our categories are as follows:
Training Programme of the Year
New for 2022, our Training Programme Award is open to all of the many courses and events available to people in the aftermarket. Judging this Award will be tricky, but we’ll be considering the greatest benefit vs cost to trainees. We’ll also be looking for innovative training methods and looking at the quality of the assessments.
You might have heard about the ‘circular economy’ where things are refurbished and resold. Well, that’s something that the aftermarket has been doing for many years… and now we’re celebrating remanufacturing, reuse and other methods of making a positive impact on the world in which we live by launching the Environmental Award. This Award is open to companies that support reuse including remanufacturers and vehicle dismantlers. It is also open to firms that have recently achieved a significant environmental accreditation or have otherwise reviewed their business practice to reduce their carbon footprint or amount of waste.
Can you think of anyone, be it an individual or a group, who has shrugged off adversity to rise in the industry? Let us know. The previous years that this Award has been presented, it has gone to students of FE colleges who have come from diverse and often underprivileged backgrounds to become skilled and make careers in the motor trade. If you have any suggestions for this Award, we’d be deligted to hear them.
Garage of the Year
Nominate the best garage, whether it is an independent, or a branch of a chain that offers particularly good customer service or has a reputation for technical excellence. Competition is fierce in this category, so please remember to explain why you are nominating! The category is also open to mobile technicians and specialists, such as auto electricians.
Accessory Shop of the Year
The oldest of the CAT Awards, this category is also open to independent factors who make a substantial amount of their income from consumer retail. If you can think of a shop that is ship-shape, then don’t hesitate to nominate them.
Factor of the Year
Open to all light vehicle and CV motor factors, both independent, chain and VM-owned regardless of the number of branches. Has your local factor looked after you this year? Let us know in a few words and they could win this most coveted award.
Branch team of the Year
Working behind the parts counter can be frantic and there is always another target to hit, but delivering excellent customer service must be paramount. If you know a branch team, independent or chain, trade, retail or both that all pull together to make the impossible happen, then please let us know.
Industry Partner Award
Our Industry Partner Award celebrates the firms in the service industry. IT is open to PR companies, recruiters, software developers, insurers, law firms and anyone else that supports the aftermarket with professional services. Whoever you feel has given you a good service this year, do please nominate them. We’re sure they will be grateful for it.
This is a special award for an individual (or in rare instances a group of people) that have made an outstanding contribution to the automotive aftermarket. While the winner is chosen by the editor, we welcome any suggestions on who has made a lasting mark on the trade.
Supplier of the Year
One of the most hotly-contested categories, We want to know who you think the best supplier has been this year, and why. Self-nominations are allowed, but we want to hear the reason for nomination!
Don’t forget, email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
The CAT Awards 2022, sponsored by Parts Plus, have taken place at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.
A capacity crowd of around 140 delegates watched the live event on Thursday, March 10.
The winners are as follows:
Industry Partner Impression
Supplier of the Year First Line
Retailer of the Year A1 McGanns
Environmental Award NGK
Branch Team of the Year Arnold Clark Autoparts Glasgow
Achievement Award Quentin LeHetet (GiPA)
Factor Chain of the Year LKQ Euro Car Parts
Rising Stars Rallysport Engineering
Independent Garage Lindley’s Autocentres
Training Award LKQ Academy
Apart from listening to the Awards, guests tucked in to a delicious white fish lunch while listening to a fascinating interview with WRC driver Elfyn Evans. They were also treated to cocktails in the drinks reception sponsor’s colours and were sketched by caricature artist Francesco Tassi.
Greg Whitaker, CAT’s Editor said: “It was great to feel such energy at a live event once again. I hope and believe that everyone who attended enjoyed some face-to-face networking once again as much as I did. Heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners and thanks to all of the sponsors”.
The event, sponsored by Distrigo, was broadcast over the web for all of the industry to view live.
Winners included the 7,000 members of the Automotive Support Group who collectively shared the Outstanding Achievement Award. The group had been formed by a number of garage owners and technicians at the start of the pandemic in order to help each other, not just in practical terms, but also looking out for each other’s mental and physical wellbeing.
CAT’s Rising Stars Award seeks to celebrate diversity of opportunity by recognising those from non-traditional backgrounds making a start in the automotive aftermarket. This year we presented the Award to the OpenRoad project in West Norfolk. This organisation takes socially excluded young people from the surrounding areas and teaches them the practical skills and mindset needed to succeed in the business.
The event was preceded by a CAT Conversations seminar panel where the topic discussed how to get back to growth following the pandemic. Panelists included Andy Robson from Distrigo, Richard Shortis from Shortis Group, Kamran Saleem from MotorServ UK and Richard Welland from WAI and the current IAAF President
CAT Editor, Greg Whitaker said: “The pandemic was the hardest time for so many businesses in our sector, but in the Awards, we celebrated how the whole industry helped each other through it, and in CAT Conversations, we debated where we all go from here.”
The category winners include;
Motor Factor of the Year – Alliance Automotive UK
Factor team of the year – Motorserv Milton Keynes
Independent Garage of the year – JayRay
Retailer of the year – Dunlops Auto Shop
Supplier of the year – UFI Filtration
Industry Partner – Chicane
Outstanding achievement – Automotive Support Group
Rising Stars – OpenRoad West Norfolk
A huge congratulations to all of the winners!