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.

CAT Award winners 2023

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:

Colin Turkington captivated the audience

 

 

 

 

 

Training Scheme of the Year (sponsored by First Brands)

Delphi Technologies for the Delphi Academy

Luke Garratt from Delphi (R) receives trophy from Andy Taylor from sponsor First Brands

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)

V Group

Nicola Eggleton from V Group collects the Award from Jason Smith of sponsor 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

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 and sponsor Robert Toovey, Toyota First

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)

A1 Sleaford

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,

The Arnolds and Gary Vincent from sponsor Noco

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

Craig McCracken, Arnold Clark Autoparts with Karl Ridings from sponsor UFI

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)

FG7 ltd.

Alex Pease (R) from sponsor Boswell presents trophy to Peter Cox of FG7

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

Bosch

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.

Mark Heard from Bosch receives trophy from Kevan Wooden from leads sponsor LKQ Euro Car Parts

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)

Alex Lindley

Alex Lindley (R) with Jonathan Franc from sponsor 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

Jim Lang from GSO with Simon Albert from sponsor Messe Frankfurt UK

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

AutoCare

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

Maria McCullough and the team pick up Award

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)

Maria McCullough

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.

Maria McCullough with Yiano Ioannou from sponsor YCI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Greg Whitaker

Editor of CAT Magazine and an experienced motoring journalist @GregWhitaker5

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