Christmas comes early for the editorial and publishing team at Auto Dealer Today. Each fall, at the annual Industry Summit, we get to hand out plaques to the winners of the Dealers’ Choice Awards. This year’s event was held at the Caribe Royale Orlando in Orlando, Fla., and despite the growing threat of severe weather that would become the deadly and highly destructive Hurricane Michael, we had a full room for this year’s Industry Summit Honors.
As you may already be aware, the Dealers’ Choice Awards are exactly that — a first-, second-, and third-place ranking of your favorite vendors, service providers, and finance sources. For would-be honorees, there is only one way to win: Make your dealers fall in love with you and then hope they vote for you.
The online survey that was live throughout the month of May asked not only for each voter’s partner companies’ names in at least five of 34 categories, it required you to score your providers on the quality of their offerings, their customer service acumen, value for dollars spent, and whether you would recommend them to another dealer. Not every category includes three winners, because only those companies that score above the mean average can be ranked.
Despite the fact that we hand out several dozen of them every year, it is very difficult to win a Dealers’ Choice Award. But it’s also the ultimate meritocracy. Winners seem to come out of left field in every contest. One-man or -woman companies compete at the same level as the biggest players. Quality is more important than quantity.
And so, every year, we see new winners of all shapes and sizes. It is truly inspiring to connect with a first-time winner who never realized or truly believed they were in contention.
If there is one quality that unites each of our winners throughout the 14-year history of the awards, it’s gratitude. They appreciate that you took the time to vote for them. They appreciate your high marks. And one imagines that appreciation is clearly apparent in the way they serve and, in some cases, protect your business.
If you missed your chance to vote in this year’s Dealers’ Choice Awards, you will have another chance next year and the year after that. Until then, on behalf of the magazine and our honorees, thanks to everyone who voted. You wield the power to make your partners’ day. It was another good year to be in the auto industry and another fine chapter to close on at Industry Summit.