Mercedes-Benz Dealer Northside Truck & Van stole the show at the manufacturer’s annual Van Academy Awards on Friday (15 January), winning no fewer than six of the 12 main prizes.
Managing Director Tim Ward capped a great night for Northside, which represents the three-pointed star in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, by collecting the biggest award of all, that for Retailer of the Year, from Mercedes-Benz Vans Managing Director Steve Bridge.
Earlier in the evening members of the Northside team had also stepped up to receive the prizes for Sales, Fleet Sales, BDM (Business Development, covering operators with between 25 and 250 vehicles), Used Van Performance and After Sales.
Staged at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, the event set the seal on a magnificent 12 months for the Dealer, which saw it smash targets and achieve record sales, while also delivering leading industry-leading levels of customer service.
Northside sold just over 5,000 new and used Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Vito and Citan models from its network of seven branches in 2015. The company’s retail and business development sales tallies were both up by a stunning 50%, while it also supplied vans to 26% more customers than in the previous year.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the progress made by our Van business, and every member of the team can be proud of their contribution,” declared Tim Ward. “The awards we’ve won cover both sales and after sales, so demonstrate our strength in depth across the board.”
Tim continued: “Though some of the figures may suggest otherwise, we’ve not waved a magic wand. Instead, our success is down to hard work and dedication, and having the right people in the right jobs – we’ve identified and communicated the strategy, then empowered them to deliver the results.”
Northside Truck & Van is committed to the training and development of staff at all levels, so much so that it also won the prestigious Apprenticeship of the Year title at last year’s Motor Transport Awards. Today, no fewer than 15 of the 52 former apprentices still employed by the company are either managers or directors.
Crucial, too, was Northside’s achievement in becoming one of the first members of the manufacturer’s franchised UK Dealer Network to be accredited as a Mercedes-Benz Van ProCenter. This demanding standard of excellence, which Northside secured in the summer of 2014, requires Dealers to demonstrate best-in-class product presentation and availability, as well as customer service.
Completing the picture, Northside continues to invest heavily in its facilities, all but one of which offer 24-hour vehicle servicing. Indeed, the workshop at its Sheffield dealership, recent subject of a £1.5-million programme of extension and refurbishment that included the development of a new retail van showroom, is open round-the-clock, seven days a week, and closes only on Christmas and Boxing Days.
Mercedes-Benz Vans Managing Director Steve Bridge said: “Northside’s extended opening hours, workshop availability, vehicle selection, specialist expertise and outstanding facilities all made a difference when it came to supporting Mercedes-Benz Van customers in 2015.
“These elements required ongoing investment in every sense of the word – in finances, in time, in colleague training, and in effort. The awards so deservedly won by Northside reflect the exceptional teamwork and dedication across all areas of the business, from Sales and Customer Services, to Finance and Insurance, Fleet and Business Development, and everything in between.”
Northside Truck & Van has represented Mercedes-Benz in West and South Yorkshire since the 1970s. In 2012 the manufacturer rewarded the Dealer for its customer-focused success by greatly extending its area of responsibility to include North Lincolnshire, as well as East and North Yorkshire. Since then Northside has made a series of major capital investments, opening new facilities in Immingham and York, and undertaking extensive refurbishments across its other locations in Bradford, Doncaster, Hull, Leeds and Sheffield.