Auckland Motors Mitsubishi dealer principal Mark Barton earned a place in history when he won a Diamond Dealer award at the auto company's black tie awards evening at Taupo on Friday (27 April).
Mitsubishi's sales and marketing general manager Warren Brown said Mr Barton, leader of an operation that had served the Auckland public very successfully since 1908, had "the distinction and honour of becoming the most capped Diamond Dealer ever, with nine awards now in his trophy cabinet".
The latest award, said Mr Brown, comes as a three-year redevelopment of the dealership's massive Manukau City site is about to be topped off by the opening of a new 450sqm showroom. Auckland Motors Mitsubishi also won the award for finance dealer of the year.
Mitsubishi's pinnacle Diamond Dealer awards, recognising all-round excellence, also went to Napier (Wayne Kirk, Wayne Kirk Mitsubishi), Morrinsville (Darrell Russell, Piako Mitsubishi), Newmarket (Andrew Simms, Andrew Simms Mitsubishi), and Tauranga (Keith Henderson, Bay City Mitsubishi).
Baigent Motors of Matamata, with a six-decade legacy of "outstanding service" to customers in the Waikato town, were the first winners of a new Diamond Dealer award for service and parts dealerships.
Manager Justin Scelly received the award from Mitsubishi's managing director Masao Tanuma. Malcolm Lovett Automotive (Ashburton) and Cavanagh Motors (Te Puke) were finalists.
Mr Brown said the Diamond Dealer awards were made against the backdrop of a 40% lift in the number of customers choosing a new Mitsubishi car, van or ute over the past two years, heading dealerships into what he described as a "very bright future indeed".
The awards – limited to seven each year – stimulated dealers to "excel in every aspect of their operations".
The Diamond Dealer award also went to high-profile Mitsubishi Fuso truck dealer Keith Andrews, who had "transformed" the Auckland dealership he acquired last year.