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Irish Motor Industry Awards celebrate business excellence in a challenging market

19 February 2018

The SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) held its 65th Annual Dinner at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin last night where SIMI President Gavin Hydes welcomed over 700 senior Motor Industry figures and guests in attendance. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the SIMI Irish Motor Industry Awards in partnership with sponsor Bank of Ireland Finance. The awards, in this their eight year, were announced by presenter Oliver Callan. 

Selection of the award winners, those companies that demonstrated an award-winning level of excellence and best practice over the last 12 months, was adjudicated by an independent panel. Open to all sectors of the Irish Motor Industry, eight Award Categories in total were presented by Brian Cooke Deputy Director General of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) and Derek McDermott, Managing Director of Bank of Ireland Finance, the event sponsors. A special recognition award, in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority, was presented to Philip Skelton for his work on the ‘Stayin Alive at 1.5 campaign’ in which he worked to include both cyclists and motorists in order to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists and the importance of motorists keeping a safe distance when overtaking them. 

Category Award Winners on the night were:

  • Franchised Sales Operation of the Year - MSL Ballsbridge Motors, 162 Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4

  • Franchised Aftersales Operation of the Year- Tony Burke Motors Ltd, Ballybrit, Co Galway

  • Commercial Vehicle Operation of the Year-MUTEC Naas Road, Dublin 12

  • Independent Sales Operation of the Year - Airways Motor Company Ltd Unit 5 Gerry Larkin Industrial Estate, Forest Road, Swords, Co Dublin

  • Independent Aftersales Operation of the Year- Auto Assure Ltd Grays Lane, Park Street, Dundalk, Co Louth

  • Bodyshop of the Year- Tadg Riordan Motors Ltd, Ashbourne, Co Meath

  • Vehicle Recovery Operator of the Year- Hamill Rentals Ltd, Old Dublin Road, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

  • Motor Factor of the Year- Rathgar Motor Factors LtdT/a Parts For Cars 66-67 Rathgar Avenue, Rathgar, Dublin 6

  • SIMI/RSA Outstanding Achievement Award- Philip Skelton for his work on the ‘Stayin Alive at 1.5 campaign’

Prior to the awards announcement, SIMI President Gavin Hydes addressed the large attendance remarking that the night was a celebration of the Motor Industry. “An Industry that has collected €1.49 billion from car sales and around €5 billion in all motoring taxes last year.  An Industry that employs over 42,000 people throughout Ireland and despite the current Brexit-driven challenges faced by our Sector, ours is an Industry that endeavours to excel in the services that we provide to our customers.”

Last year saw a decline in both new car and commercial vehicle registrations, with a similar outcome projected for 2018, while the used import market is set to grow. Mr Hydes stated that “the uncertainty experienced from Brexit in 2017 will continue to be a feature of the market in 2018. The volume of imported used cars will further increase this year which will impact on the new car market and on government tax revenues. He underlined the Motor Industry’s commitment to work with the other stakeholders to deliver the required reductions in CO2 and other emissions and highlighted the anomaly whereby Ireland is also, at the same time, welcoming on to our roads tens of thousands of older more polluting cars that are unwanted in UK cities. He called for a more logical approach, allowed under EU law, to ensure that any vehicle, about which there is an environmental or safety concern, is checked and required to meet the appropriate standards, before it enters service here, in order to protect consumers and the environment.

The President also commented on the dynamic career opportunities available within the many diverse sectors across the Industry and called on Motor Industry businesses to focus on increasing the intake of apprentices in order to safe-guard against potential future shortages. 

In closing the President praised the companies who were shortlisted for each of the SIMI Motor Industry Award categories. 

Derek McDermott Managing Director of Bank of Ireland Finance commented "Bank of Ireland Finance is delighted to partner with the Society of the Irish Motor Industry Awards for the fourth consecutive year to recognise outstanding achievement and excellence within the Industry. Banking, along with the motor industry, is going through change at a pace never experienced before. However, regardless of technological change across both industries the core principle remains constant. Keeping customers at the centre of everything we do is the main purpose for our Franchise partners, Dealers and the team at Bank of Ireland Finance. While the external environment will always evolve and change, our focus on delivering value, transparency and quality service for customers will never waver."