Stoke-on-Trent-based used car industry legend Umesh Samani wins Lifetime Achievement award at motor trade ‘Oscars’

Stoke-on-Trent-based used car industry legend Umesh Samani has been recognised for his immense contribution to the industry by being presented with the Lifetime Achievement trophy at the 2023 Car Dealer Used Car Awards.

The Independent Motor Dealers Association founder, who runs Specialist Cars, drew rapturous applause from the hundreds of attendees at the event, held at The Brewery in London, as he went up to collect his award.

Mr Samani, who established Specialist Cars in 1997, said afterwards: “I had no idea and didn’t think I’d be getting anything like this tonight.

“It has just left me totally speechless and everyone would have noticed on stage! I honestly didn’t know what to say genuinely. I have no words for it.

“I wasn’t expecting any awards this evening. I came for a good meal, a good evening out and a good party, so to walk away with the Lifetime Achievement award is incredible.

“I don’t think I deserve these sorts of things. You see people who have spent all their lives doing this and I guess I have spent my life in this industry, but it’s just not something that I expect of myself.”

James Baggott, editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, said: ‘‘Umesh is a genuine legend of the used car industry. A true gentleman, he’s built a solid reputation with his dealership over the decades and has devoted his life to helping others in the profession.

“I am truly delighted for him – this accolade is thoroughly well deserved!”

Host Mike Brewer – TV’s Mr Wheeler Dealer – told the crowd: “Umesh has run his own successful used car dealership for nearly 30 years.

“Both he and Specialist Cars have collected numerous accolades from us in the last decade, being celebrated in particular for their customer care and social media. But it’s his commitment to helping other independent used car dealers that really impresses.

“Umesh was a founding member of the Independent Motor Dealers Association, which has helped hundreds of like-minded used car dealers to come together, share their experiences and support each other.”

At the 2013 awards, Mr Samani scooped two awards – Dealers’ Dealer of the Year as well as Social Media User of the Year – and was the only dealer to get two trophies that night!

Meanwhile, at the 2014 and 2015 awards, Specialist Cars was highly commended in the Best Used Car Customer Care category, while 2015 saw Mr Samani highly commended in the Dealers’ Dealer category as well. He was also highly commended as Dealers’ Dealer in 2017, and was highly commended as Used Car Dealer Principal at the 2018 awards.

The Car Dealer Used Car Awards – often described as the Oscars of the motor trade – celebrate the best and brightest operators working in the used car market across the UK.

Thousands of automotive retailers, plus MOT testing stations and workshops, enter the awards every year. Each one undergoes a rigorous judging process and mystery shopping test before the gongs are handed out at the glittering ceremony.

The awards have been celebrating the top operators in the UK’s used car industry since 2012, rewarding manufacturers, car dealerships, workshops and exceptional people working in the sector. They are organised by the UK’s leading automotive trade title, Car Dealer Magazine.

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