Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Garage of the Year results

Motor Codes, the operator of government-backed codes of practice has named the national winners of its annual Garage of the Year contest, following six weeks of voting by garage customers.

At an award ceremony attended by garage owners, car manufacturers and Trading Standards motor trade experts, Sturgess Jaguar, Leicester, was named franchised main dealer of the year and Top Marques of Hitchin picked up the independent garage prize.

The competition, in association with Auto Express Driver Power, celebrates top-class customer service and Auto Express editor, Steve Fowler, joined TV presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson to hand over the coveted trophies.

Chris Mason, managing director of Motor Codes, was part of the judging panel and outlined why Sturgess and Top Marques stood out from a crowd of thousands of other garages:

"As well as the volume of votes from satisfied customers, we analysed the comments people made about our twenty regional finalists. Though very different businesses, both Sturgess and Top Marques showed the ability to adopt the personal service associated with a family-run business that builds long-term relationships with customers."

The judges, Chris, Steve, Vicki and a lead motor trade officer from Trading Standards, Tim Milsom, also highlighted evidence of a number of shared themes found with the two winners: A strong focus on obtaining - and acting upon - customer feedback, a transparent, customer-focused approach to those times when things do go wrong and an all-round effort to accommodate all types of customer requirement, however big or small a job may be. There was also some good use of social media.

"For a bit of fun each year, one unofficial bit of judging criteria we like to look at is the distance test - how far customers travel to use the garage. Sturgess Jaguar is active on a number of online forums and, as a result, has enjoyed custom from as far afield as Norway!"

Andy West is customer services director at Jaguar and was proud of the win for Sturgess:

"I am thrilled that Sturgess has won Franchise Garage of the Year. Chris Sturgess and his team at Jaguar Leicester work very hard to look after their customers and make great use of digital media to stay in close contact. Jaguar was proud to be ranked number one in the last JD Power survey and will continue to work closely with Motor Codes to ensure that the very highest levels of customer service are delivered in the car industry."

Equally delighted was owner of Top Marques, Mark Scott:

"This is truly something to be proud of, as it's an endorsement directly from our customers. Everyone at Top Marques are over the moon and I can't praise the team enough. Thanks to all those customers who took the time to vote for us."

The winning garages were picked from twenty regional champions - the nation's favourite franchised main dealers and independent garages. 11,500 people voted to endorse the first-class customer service they have received at Motor Codes subscribing garages, all of which commit to the scrutiny of the Trading Standards-approved Service and Repair Code.

Garage of the Year 2013, in association with Auto Express Driver Power.

The regional winners, highly commended:

Franchised main dealer category

East of England
Roy Tolley Citroen, Colchester
Sturgess Jaguar, Leicester
North East
Sherwoods Vauxhall, Stockton
North West
M53 Ford, Birkenhead
Northern Ireland
SERE SEAT, Lisburn
W Livingstone SEAT, Uddingston, Glasgow
South East
Bartletts SEAT, St Leonards-on-Sea
South West
Swindon Motor Park SEAT
Toyota World, Bridgend
Sherwoods Vauxhall, Northallerton

Independent garage category

East of England
Top Marques Repair Garage, Hitchin
iAutoUK, Coventry
North East
Cavendish Motor Company, Ashington
North West
ABP Motorsport, Crewe
Northern Ireland
Newtownabbey Autocentre
D&G Autocare, Pitreavie, Dunfermline
South East
The Test Centre, Deptford
South West
Tickenham Garage, Clevedon
A1 Motorcare, Rumney, Cardiff
Alexanders Prestige, Boroughbridge

All the best


Friday, 5 April 2013

We are TSI Approved

Subscriber Update Header
Consumer Codes Approval Scheme - the transition from Office of Fair
Trading to Trading Standards
As you know, subscribers to Motor Codes commit to the government-approved
codes of practice relating to customer service standards in the new car sales
and car service and repair sectors.
In its Consumer Landscape Review, government outlined its plan to transfer
responsibility for consumer codes to Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and
we previously highlighted to you the date of 1 April 2013 as the time from
which TSI will begin monitoring approved codes.
We have, this week, received confirmation that the transition from OFT to
TSI will commence, as planned, on 1 April and the Motor Codes board has
agreed terms and signed contracts to adopt TSI-approved status for the
TSI has provided us with a set of guidelines and a branding pack, to allow
code subscribers to make this change with us and remain compliant.
Transition timeline 
1 April marks the start of the changeover, the date from which code subscribers
should begin removing OFT branding and logos from our public-facing materials. 
TSI then plans to publicly launch the new Consumer Codes Approval Scheme to
consumers at its annual conference on 19 June.
By this time, we will provide you with updated code documentation, copies o
f our codes and brief guides, refreshed to include the TSI-approved code logo. 
During the transition period, all code subscribers should begin to adopt usage of
the TSI-approved branding.
Obtaining TSI branding
As of next week, from the morning of 2 April, you will be able to view and download
TSI's brand guidelines within your subscriber log-in area of our website
Simply sign in, scroll over the 'help' tab and look in the 'marketing pack' section. 
There you will find the artwork for the TSI-approved logos.  These can be used on
your websites, stationery and throughout your business, as outlined in the brand
guidelines document.
Trading Standards-approved
All that remains to say is that, from 1 April, your business is a part of the UK's
Trading Standards-approved network of car dealers and service and repair centres. 

Be sure to proudly display this endorsement of the quality of customer service you provide.
All the best
Chris Mason FIMI
Managing Director
Motor Codes Limited

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Motor Codes Garage of the Year - is it you?

Garage of the Year, simple yet effective.

Do you want to become the Motor Codes franchised dealer or independent garage of the year?


Great, all you need to do is believe that is what your business is, and get involved.

Round one

It’s the voting that’s important. Mobilise your team, get your customers voting for your garage between February 8, and March 3. This is a local marketing opportunity that can only generate a feeling of goodwill amongst your customers and within your local community.

They can vote for you here

Use the free to download Motor Codes posters, web banners etc available here

Or buy some low cost mirror hangers and flyers by logging on at the Motor Codes online Code Shop at

Round two

Voting for top 100 UK garages takes place between 8 March to 17 March

So, you’ve made it through to the all important second round, where the UK’s motorists are voting for their top franchised dealer and independent garage.

A significant achievement in itself and worthy of a certificate as a regional finalist and an opportunity to tell all in your locality of your achievement. The local press and MP’s usually get interested at this stage, over to you and remember it’ll pay dividends throughout the course of the coming year and beyond if you play it well.

Judging day

The panel of handpicked experts gathers to review, assess, deliberate, and decide on the Motor Codes Franchise Dealer of the Year and the Motor Codes Independent Garage of the Year on March 22.

This year’s panel is an impressive bunch - Auto Express editor, Steve Fowler, Vicki Butler-Henderson, Tim Milsom, lead motoring officer at Trading Standards and er, me…

Garage of the Year announcements

On 27 March you could be named Garage of the Year. Yes, you.

It’ll be someone, so if you think you’ve got what it takes, get involved, as the Motor Codes team like to say.

If you think you run an excellent franchise or independent garage and you’re signed up to Motor Codes you are only limited by your own ambition and imagination on this one – over to you!

Good luck, get involved and have some fun.

If you run a garage and you’re not signed up to Motor Codes, well that's too bad, for you. But you can sign up today at

All the best

Friday, 25 January 2013

Garage of the Year 2013 - open for business

Motor Codes set to open enhanced Garage of the Year competition

New categories to highlight UK's favourite franchised and independent garages
  • Nationwide competition opens for voting on Friday 8 February.
  • Promotional material available online.
  • New dual-category format - franchised dealer and independent garage of the year.
  • Focus on quality and consumer confidence - this year, only garages committed to Motor Codes' government-backed scheme are eligible to take the prize.
Focused on customer feedback and highlighting high-quality levels of service, the annual Motor Codes Garage of the Year campaign is aimed squarely at promoting the benefits to the public of using a garage committed to its government-backed scheme.

In preparation for the competition's opening, a suite of promotional materials has been made available to all subscribing garages. The marketing materials, acting as a call to action for service and repair customers to nominate their trusted garage, can be downloaded from the log-in area of  

The Motor Codes focus on recognition of first-class service, providing informed choice for the consumer and, ultimately, driving business to its network of committed businesses has led to a change in format for Garage of the Year 2013, as Motor Codes managing director, Chris Mason explains:

"In the four years since the government asked us to look at the crisis in consumer confidence associated with car service and repair, we've been able to demonstrate collectively, through the hard work and openness of those garages committed to the codes, that Motor Codes, the government-backed garage network, is the safe choice for motorists. As a result, we've changed things this year so that only Motor Codes subscribers - those that submit themselves to scrutiny - can enter."

Another change for 2013, reflecting the diverse make-up of the network, is that Motor Codes has split the contest in two, offering an award for both the franchised main dealer and independent garage of the year.

Demonstrating the value of the competition and its role in Motor Codes' aim to drive business to subscribers, Stephen Reynolds, owner of last year's joint-winning garage, Reynolds of Selby, has attributed a boost in service and repair work to the increased profile gained through Motor Codes:

"The local publicity surrounding our win was great but it was when we looked at the sustained level of business growth that we knew that Motor Codes was working for us. Looking at the books, we're 7% up, year-on-year, since the Garage of the Year win. Even looking at pre-recession figures, turnover is still greater."

Garage of the Year is a key part of Motor Codes' online approach, using consumer-led marketing to drive web traffic and deliver business to its 7,000 subscribers. The strategy is paying off, with government praising its online garage ratings system and statistics showing a 90% increase in garage profile page views to 1.3 million during 2012.

Following a three week national voting period, from 8 February to 3 March, the UK's top 50 franchised and independent garages will be announced, with voting then continuing for those businesses between 8 and 17 March. Regional winners will be announced on 20 March, with the overall prize handed over to this year's winners at Motor Codes' headquarters at the end of the month.

As well as the chance to generate some fantastic local PR, there is a prize fund on offer that includes PGA Championship golf tickets supplied by BMW, tool vouchers provided by GSF Car Parts, SLS AMG Driving Day experiences courtesy of Mercedes-Benz and an AIRCONMATIC III cleaning system donated by Wynn's.

As an incentive to customers for taking the time to vote, tickets for this year's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season finale at Brands Hatch, with full hospitality, will be supplied by Porsche and, thanks to Unipart Car Care Centres, one lucky voter will also receive £250 of Love2shop vouchers.

All the best

Monday, 21 January 2013

Vacancy – Motor Codes Officer

As a result of a growing subscriber-base and a strengthening relationship with government’s regulatory bodies, Motor Codes is experiencing an upsurge in consumer contact. 

Throughout 2013, there will be a need to expand both our inbound and outbound advice line and administrative capacity.

A vacancy therefore exists for a Motor Codes Officer.


To assist and deliver the planned operational activity of consumer codes of practice, sector self regulation and member/subscriber support services for:

·                Motor Industry Code of Practice for New Cars
·                Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair
·                Motor Industry Code of Practice for Vehicle Warranty Products

Administration of the dispute resolution services under the above codes and their associated activities, both in house and via external service providers. Operate the payment collection service and achieve relevant revenue targets.


·                Dealing with consumer and subscriber telephone enquiries 
·                Assist with operation of code support services:
o    Advice line, conciliation, arbitration, monitoring and reporting, collating service provider data
·                Progress consumer contacts into Motor Codes within OFT agreed timescales
·                Deliver consistent and accurate advice to consumers and subscribers
·                Monitor subscriber garage inspection payment deadlines, contact subscribers to         ensure that they pay due fees within timescales
·                Contact non renewing subscribers and deliver back into subscriptions in line with         renewal rate objective
·                Assist with other associated Motor Codes tasks where required by team    
                leader, business manager and/or managing director


Skills & Knowledge

·                Strong organisational, time management and administrative skills
·                A High standard of written and spoken English
·                Good level of computer literacy
·                Proficiency in Microsoft Office
·                Good knowledge of consumer related legislation
·                Good knowledge of motor vehicles and the motor industry


·                Ability to manage own time and work within set timescales
·                Methodical approach to work and delivering on defined objectives
·                Confident and professional manner when dealing with people


·                A highly motivated individual, preferably with experience or working in a fast
                paced environment and flexibility towards additional tasks and projects
·                Experience of dealing with customer complaints using a high standard of both
                verbal and written communications
·                Ability to work both on own initiative as well as within a team environment
·                Experience of working in a Motor Manufacturer or dealer would be desirable
·                Experience of working in a sales and marketing environment

Prospective candidates should contact by 7 February 2013, with a CV and covering letter. Early applications are encouraged as interviews will take place and the position offered before this date if a suitable candidate is found.

All the best

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Motorists spend £7.8 million at Motor Codes garages

2012 was an excellent year for Motor Codes, both in terms of delivery against business plan and the progressive development of our products and services.

Our subscribers are now directly benefiting from signing up, not only through the credibility and peace of mind their association with Motor Codes and our OFT approved code brings to their business and customers - but also through a demonstrable return on investment.

Below is a brief overview of the key numbers, demonstrating how the subscriber base is growing, that most calls to our advice team are not complaints and how our web site is fast becoming a market place which motorists are using to assess, review and contact our subscribers.

Importantly, facilitated over 1.3 million views of subscriber profiles by motorists actively searching for an approved garage within their postcode area.

Following a successful pilot, call monitoring software was introduced across the entire network from September. This allows us to monitor the volume of calls made via profile page views to subscribing garages.

The impressive fact is that between September and year end, we generated 45,000 customer calls to Motor Codes subscribers.

Based on a call to booking ratio of 90%* and an average invoice value of £193** Motor Codes channelled £7,816,500 of incremental revenue to our subscribers during the course of the year but predominantly during the final four months, as our web traffic rose significantly.

Motor Codes is making sense to more subscribers and garage owners and with the team well set to keep up the good work, 2013 is looking very positive for all.


Total - 6,942
Franchised dealers - 5,565 (80.2%)
Independent garages - 1,377 (19.8%)

Web traffic:

Unique users - 795,911
2012 target - 562,500
80% increase year on year

Garage Finder searches - 207,685
2012 target - 199,200
4% increase year on year

Profile page views - 1,315,117
2012 target - 825,000
94% increase year on year

Advisory Service

Consumer initial contacts - 9,093
Fast Track resolution - 277
Conciliation - 394
Arbitration - 11

Call to case escalation ratio - 7%

Survey returns:

Year total - 23,765
2012 target - 21,600
20% increase year on year

Total returns since inception - 51,480

For more information contact me
directly or get in touch with our communications manager, David Rogers.

All the best

*Figure based on Motor Codes call whispering pilot data
**Source: The Castrol Professional Car Servicing & Repair Trend Tracker 2012 Update