Luke Laurence, Sales Executive at Crown Suzuki in Hendon, North London, became the first individual to win The Motor Ombudsman’s National Garage Star Award.
3,186 online nominations were received from aftermarket customers across the UK, highlighting how a business or individual had gone above and beyond to assist them. A shortlist of 24 contenders were then passed to a judging panel to deliberate the regional winners. Four individuals at separate dealerships, two car showrooms and two independent garages emerged as this year’s winners. They included Luke Laurence in the southern region, who went above and beyond during the purchase of a vehicle by a customer who had recently moved from another country.
The customer’s nomination for Luke, pictured above, unanimously caught the attention of the panel and resulted in winning the overall title of National Garage Star. He received £1,000 in high street vouchers and his trophy at the Trading Standards Institute’s Hero Awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament back in November.
Two independent garages were crowned regional winners in the 2023 awards. Garej Arwyn, pictured above right, won the Welsh region accolade. Established in 2004 by Arwyn Hughes (Director) the garage has grown to 24 staff members, operating 13 ramps. The garage offers a wide range of services including dealer level diagnostics and servicing, tyres (onsite & mobile) and recovery services. They have also opened a dedicated tuning workshop, complete with a dynamometer (AGT Performance). We asked Accounts Manager Martin Hill what differentiated their garage from their local competitors: “The main thing that sets us apart is our investment in new diagnostic equipment & specialist tools, which allows us to be able to work on a wide range of vehicles. We also have a fleet of over 30 courtesy cars available free of charge to our customers.”
Martin continued: “We were nominated [for The Garage Star Awards] for assisting a customer out of hours late on a Sunday evening after their vehicle broke down and providing a courtesy car to allow their safe return home. After being a finalist in the IGA Independent Garage of the year Award in 2022, and the NTDA Tyre Retailer of the year awards in 2023, winning this award means a lot to the whole team, and is a testament to the hard work our Director Arwyn has put into building the business over the years.”
Cadley Garage have become winners of the West region for the second time, after also winning the trophy in 2021. They have been highly commended in 2020 and 2022. Cadley Garage has been a workshop since the late 1800’s and has operated as an independent garage from 1931. Owner Jon Horsley says: “We have six staff and specialise in Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini and Volvo. We work on early vintage and classic cars up to brand new cars, so pretty much cover everything. We offer all the normal servicing, MOT tests and repairs with state-of-the-art, four-wheel alignment, all types of air conditioning work and full diagnostics, we are also able to carry out fabrication work.”
How do they stand out from the competition? Jon explains: “We can deal with customers in a way that they all relate to, so we tailor our approach to each individual. We run an Offset Alliance Campaign (OAC) which sees us pledge to plant a tree in local community spaces to offset their carbon footprint and currently have either planted or pledged to plant 4,892 trees as of November 2023. Since 2015, I have been involved with the Bloodhound LSR project, which is now actively seeking funding to run a fossil-free land speed record with the opportunity to have a new driver. With my other hat on, I work on the council at Beaulieu national motor museum with the 100 club.”
Why did a customer nominate them for the award? They re-arranged their fully booked schedule to help a customer last minute, so they could deal with a family emergency. “Since the award started in 2020, we have been finalists every year – we find this very humbling, and to win our region in 2021 and 2023 is an amazing thing to happen. Our customers obviously are happy with what we do and trust us to look after them and their pride and joys.”