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03 June

Western Group of Motoring Writers' PR Driving Day at Castle Combe Circuit, Chippenham (by invitation only)


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From the chair: October 2018

publication date: Oct 8, 2018
author/source: Robin Roberts


The awards’ season is well underway with various groups and publications giving gongs left-right-centre. 


Certificates fall like autumn leaves and in some cases it’s definitely a situation of giving something to some category to justify putting on the event and asking manufacturers to fork out hundreds of pounds at a celebratory event. But does the driver in the road actually give a thought when it comes to buying or more likely leasing a new model?

Perhaps there should be a poll of polls with the various awards assessed for their value and appropriateness, and that’s even without mentioning the models thrust into the limelight.

Time was when an award was relative to a particular sector, but now the multitude of ceremonies adopt an industry wide approach and happily go outside their particular and obvious remit. 

Is that a reflection of the diversification of models or the desire to draw in as many participants and pounds in support fees? I know of one long established award event that some manufacturers would dearly love to not be involved in but they are individually shy of shunning it in case a rival runs off with the main prize. 

At the other end of the scale we are seeing various global awards but as not one car is sold in one version around the world that is entirely false and relies on national markets achievements to be successful at the hands of particularly marketing and sales departments.

The fact is, as I see it, there are too many awards being offered and their value is proportionally diminished but maybe we need another, the So-What Awards which take a completely different approach. This might highlight the success or otherwise of a model despite unimaginative design, questionable reliability and economy, poor dealer service and dreadful depreciation, which are factors a lot of owners and drivers have to put up with day to day. Yet those same drivers will often return to the brand and maintain steady sales. 

Then there is the class of classics and auction events which will frequently see the same cars touted around and offered for sale with fluctuating ticket prices or reserves as they fail to get knocked down or sold. Occasionally a madly high price on a mediocre model will hit the headlines and encourage owners to pull the covers off their flat-tyred example and push it into a sale but those are few and far between. 

The pre-event publicity extolling an example of a model series is rarely matched by the post-event report of said vehicle failing to find a new home. 

So the awards autumn is underway and it will be the realities of a winter which will cover them, not in snow but uniform indifference from most buyers over coming months, and what breaks through in the spring will partly decide if a model justifies its natural selection. 


Robin Roberts

Joint vice-chairman

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