John Mulholland Group lands first as UK's top Skoda dealer
Co Antrim car dealership John Mulholland Motor Group has been named the UK's number one Skoda dealership, in a first for Northern Ireland.
The Randalstown firm left the competition behind - including 135 other Skoda retailers across the UK - to clinch the title and it's the first time Skoda has awarded its top accolade to a dealership from Northern Ireland.
John Mulholland, the man at the helm, said he has been "blown away" by his company's success.
"It's a monumental achievement for the dealership and underlines the incredible work everyone here has put in over many years," he said.
It comes after the company also completed a £1m refurbishment earlier this year.
And he is particularly proud of grabbing the nationwide accolade away from "big city" dealers including major players in Scotland and England.
"We've managed to see off every single dealer, from every big city across the UK, including a number of major plcs.
"Skoda judged us on every key metric, from new and used car sales through to customer service, to parts, after-sales, return on investment - indeed they go through their dealerships with a fine-tooth comb.
"Yet we still produced by far the best figures across all measurements. We're over the moon. It's such an honour to receive this sort of recognition from Skoda, especially when you consider the level of competition from the rest of the network."
Mr Mulholland received his title plaque from Skoda board member Werner Eichhorn during a ceremony in Dubai.
That was topped off by an awards ceremony in Seville, Spain - the culmination of 15 years of hard work with the Czech manufacturer, Mr Mulholland explained.
"This means so much to the group and each of our 60-plus staff," he said.
"When I started this business, I never thought it would end up with us receiving this sort of recognition from one of the most important car brands in the UK market.
"It comes on the back of one of the most successful trading years in our 26-year history, when we've enjoyed unprecedented success with our Skoda range.
"We've got our reward for having the right people in the right job delivering the right level of performance."
The Mulholland Group also deals in Ford and Hyundai brands and includes the U-First used car department.
"It is unbelievable to think where we have taken this business in the last 15 years," he said.
"From a green field on the outskirts of Randalstown to a sprawling two-acre, high-end motor retail complex, as well as a second site in Londonderry."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr Mulholland is keen to keep his hands on the accolade for as long as possible.
"We're already off to a good start in the race to retain our title for 2015," he said.