Press release

The industry's very best celebrated at the 2020 virtual Auto Trader Retailer Awards

Friday saw the UK’s most progressive car retailers recognised in Auto Trader’s Retailer Awards for their exceptional customer service, digital excellence, and for successfully adapting to the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has presented. As a result of the pandemic, the usual central London location was replaced for the first ever virtual Retailer Awards ceremony.

The top accolade, the Retailer of the Year, was awarded by Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, to three businesses representing the very best in the automotive retailing sector:

  • Cedar Specialist Cars (under 50 cars);
  • Alex Scott Cars (50-100 cars); and
  • Luscombe Motors (over 100 cars), who were previous winners of the title in 2018.  

From an engaging digital experience to outstanding customer service, the Awards recognised the top performing automotive retailers in the UK across seven different award categories, including the Customer Experience Award. Based on one of the largest mystery shopping exercises of its type, the category saw 1,000 of Auto Trader’s best performing retailers gradually whittled down to just three deserving winners via three mystery shopping phases: email (1,000 retailers), telephone (434 retailers) and a personalised video tour of a car (150 retailers) which given the current situation replaced a face-to-face forecourt interaction.  The winners were:

  • Harvey Cooper Cars (under 50 cars)
  • Martin Brothers Motor Group (50-100 cars); and
  • The Donalds Group (over 100 cars).

In total, 18 trophies were awarded, including two self-nomination categories: the Business Initiative of the Year, which recognised a retailer that had taken bold steps to respond to the changing needs of its customers, and the People & Culture Award, which identified those businesses that are going above and beyond to provide the very best working culture for its colleagues.

This year saw the highest number of self-nominations ever to enter the Awards, which were judged by an independent panel of experts from some of the UK’s best-known brands: Google UK (Matthew Legge, Automotive Lead), Rightmove (Sarah Brown, Consumer Marketing Director), The Specialist Works (Sharon Brown, Group Marketing Director), and Ennis & Co. (Lynda Ennis, founder and CEO). 

Commenting on this year’s winner, Auto Trader’s Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Coe, said: “The automotive industry is by nature, incredibly resilient, but we’ve been amazed at just how successful some retailers have been at adapting to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. We’ve seen examples of businesses who have truly gone the extra mile to respond to changing consumer behaviour and expectations, not just making the car buying process easier and more efficient, but safer too. We’ve also been hugely inspired by leadership teams that have taken equally bold steps to protect their colleagues and to instil rewarding and collaborative working cultures. 

 “In this climate we think it’s more important than ever to step back and to recognise true retailing excellence. And based on the most comprehensive judging process, there is no doubt that this year’s winners are incredibly deserving and truly represent the very best of our industry.”

Winners of the 2020 Auto Trader Retailer Awards:

Award category

Award winners

1-50 cars

Award winners

50-100 cars

Award winners:

100 + cars

Digital Excellence Award

Promotors Limited

Alpha Motors of Wigan

Avalon Motor Company

Customer Experience Award (mystery shopping)

Harvey Cooper Cars

Martin Brothers Motor Group

The Donalds Group

Customer Choice Award

E.S.A. Automotive

Donnelly Volkswagen

M&T Motor Company

Business Initiative of the Year (self-nomination)

PGI Garage

Quirks Car Company


Retailer of the Year Award

Cedar Specialist Cars

Alex Scott Cars

Luscombe Motors

Rising Star of the Year

Jamie Caple, Car Quay


Under 200 cars

Over 200 cars

People & Culture Award (self-nomination)

PGI Garage

Jardine Motors Group


As well as trophies, the winners were provided with a host of assets to promote their success to potential car buyers, including window stickers, digital logos, and social media posts.

Over 75% of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on Auto Trader. 20% more leads were delivered to retailers in 2021 than in 2020, a sign of strong buyer intent and the ever-increasing importance of online in the buying process.
Over 75% of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on Auto Trader. 20% more leads were delivered to retailers in 2021 than in 2020, a sign of strong buyer intent and the ever-increasing importance of online in the buying process.
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