Northern Ireland’s largest motor group, Charles Hurst, has scooped nine major motoring industry awards in Northern Ireland – almost half of 19 available at the region’s first major event to celebrate excellence within the growing sector.
Part of Lookers Group, one of the UK and Ireland’s largest automotive and aftersales service companies, Charles Hurst secured the industry’s most sought-after awards, including Dealer Group of the Year, Best Employer Excellence and Franchise Dealer of the Year.
Held at Belfast’s Crowne Plaza hotel, the inaugural Northern Ireland Motor Industry Awards 2023 were independently adjudicated by a panel of industry experts including Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), Jason Craig, award-winning motoring and motorsport journalist and James Stinson, award-winning motoring journalist.
Leading the sector, Charles Hurst Group won top awards for Best Marketing Campaign, Aftersales Team of the Year and Used Vehicle Dealer of the Year.
Recognising personal excellence and commitment to customers, Charles Hurst’s Michael Fenton won Automotive Technician of the Year and Paul Herriot secured the top award for Sales Manager of the Year. The industry’s top award for General Manager of the Year went to the group’s Luke McCready.
Also securing an award was Charles Hurst’s Adrian Johnson who was highly commended for Aftersales Manager of the Year, and a separate development, Lookers’ Fleet Financial business picked up the top award for Leasing Company of the Year.
Founded in Belfast in 1911 at the cusp of a global driving revolution, Charles Hurst has become a motoring powerhouse through investment, growth and continuous innovation. With more than 900 staff across the island of Ireland, its headquarters on Belfast’s Boucher Road is the largest automotive retail park in Europe.
Welcoming the awards, Jeff McCartney, Charles Hurst Group Operations Director, said: “In a highly competitive marketplace, I’m delighted on behalf of the group that Charles Hurst and our dedicated, hardworking teams have been so roundly recognised at the region’s first industry awards, recognising commitment to excellence and to customers across Northern Ireland. Future-focused, ambitious and growing, we’re proud to be leading the region’s motoring industry and we look forward to continuing our award-winning work for many years ahead.”
Last year, Charles Hurst was also named Large National Dealer Group of the Year for 2022 at the UK’s Motability Awards in recognition for exceptional service.
Lookers’ Chief Operating Officer, Duncan McPhee said: “Representing real team spirit and focused on delivering the best service for our customers, Charles Hurst delivered an unmatched result at Northern Ireland’s biggest motoring industry showcase and I warmly congratulate everyone involved. From our senior teams to our technicians, sales, and customer service colleagues, I am extremely proud of their remarkable achievements.”
A Top 100 NI company for several decades, the award-winning firm operates across eight sites in Northern Ireland and two in the Republic of Ireland, offering 25 vehicle manufacturers and brands from Aston Martin, Lotus and Bentley to Vauxhall, Nissan, Toyota and CUPRA
Charles Hurst has already invested more than £8 million in its dealership estate since the start of this year, increasing choice and creating new jobs as part of an ambitious strategy to drive new growth.
A recent £2 million investment in a CUPRA dealership forms part of its recent major investment, in addition to a £2.2 million investment in a new Toyota showroom, around £1 million to refurbish and relaunch two Nissan dealerships in Belfast and Newtownards, and £3 million in a significant redevelopment of its parts centre on Boucher Road, Belfast.