Published 10-10-2018

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We are thrilled to announce that one of our Honda Circles teams, In-Line 4, have won the EUR-AFR-EAST Honda Circles Convention, and will now present in Brazil! Honda Circles is an initiative for dealer and manufacturer teams to present ideas to improve the business.

Here’s a write up from our North West Honda Motorcycles Manager, Neil Morris, who is part of the winning team…

The Cox Motor Group has both Car and Motorcycle dealerships across the North West at Blackpool, Kendal, Lancaster, Southport and Wigan and employs close to 300 people. Therefore our team ‘In-Line 4’ consisting of Barry Todd, Iain Black, myself and Damian Brog were up against it just to get the opportunity to present a Circles initiative at NHC with so many proactive members of staff across the group.

We did however get selected to represent the group and our journey started with a trip to Honda UK in Swindon. Our presentation focused on improving our Quality of Sale in our three motorcycle showrooms. We had successfully got through this stage of the competition in 2017, but it was clear that we were not the only team to have learned more from the experience. Equally there was some stiff opposition in the guise of a team from one of the biggest Honda motorcycle dealers in the UK.

In spite of this, we came through the event admirably and were over the moon to win our section and earn the opportunity to go to the Eur-Afr-East convention in Budapest, Hungary. We also got some great feedback from the judges and senior members of Honda UK. Could we go one further and get a place on the trip to the World Convention in Brazil?

Budapest loomed large on the horizon just a month or so later and the team were focused, but pensive, about their first presentation during the semi-finals on the Friday. Teams from Spain and Germany took part in our allocated room, as well our colleagues ‘The Protectors’ from our Blackpool branch. We might be up against it here!

However, come the announcement of the 10 team line-up for the Saturday finals we were on the list. Being the last team to be announced got the heart beating strong, but we were in and we would go again.

Our team allocated me as their observer which meant a chance to see the other 9 presentations before we presented as the last of the finalists. This served to create even further anxiety. Our competition was incredibly strong, but the team remained confident and maintained their attention to doing their very best when it counted.

In-Line 4 stepped onto the stage ready and prepared to put on the best show possible. In what seemed like the longest 15 minutes for any of us, the presentation was done and there was warm handshakes all round. Was this our final chance to showcase our idea or would we be victorious and get to take the long trip to South America?

The awards night was a lavish affair and another chance to make many more friends from around the Honda network. Warm greetings were enjoyed from members of teams from France, Belgium, Hungary, Turkey and Thailand. We met delegates from Japan, Italy and of course the UK. It was another reminder of just what an incredible experience the NHC can be.

We were disappointed to end up right at the far end of the room set aside for the awards ceremony. Like anyone we wanted to be close to the action, but this became a blessing in disguise. Richard Day from the NHC Committee began his speech and reminded the audience that 2018 would be the very first time that a dealer team would be invited to the World Convention in Sao Paulo in November, and that just one team would get that opportunity. It all began to sink in just what a big deal this all is.

And finally, ‘the winner is……..(long pregnant X-Factor style pause)…..In-Line 4’. The room erupted, we exploded and all 4 of us made the long journey through swathes of people to get to the stage. We suddenly became so thankful to be as far from the stage as we were. Handshakes, kisses, high-fives and embraces aplenty as we made our merry way to savour the moment and be greeted enthusiastically by the many dignitaries from Honda all over the World. We took hold of our commemorative plate and smiled broadly to the audience who applauded us warmly.

We had already enjoyed an amazing experience, the chance to meet Honda colleagues from all over the globe, to enjoy the rich culture of Budapest and to showcase our ideas to like-minded Honda folk. However, there is nothing quite like a winning feeling. The elation quickly turned to reflection on all the hard work and particularly to appreciation for the role of our mentor Helen Hayton, without whom we could not have succeeded.

Our thoughts now turn to Sao Paulo and the chance to extend ourselves even further. Commiserations go to our colleagues Jackson Ashworth, Lisa Robertson, Martin Worsnip and Mike Kershaw who were very unlucky to miss out. Like us, they successfully got through the UK round and onto Hungary and we have no doubt will return for another go in 2019.

We will now savour the experience of travelling to a country none of us have visited before. Maybe you will be reading about another victory very soon!?