Used car industry legend Umesh Samani was left speechless when he was announced as this year’s Lifetime Achievement winner.
The IMDA founder drew rapturous applause from the hundreds of attendees at the Used Car Awards, held at The Brewery in London, as he went up to collect his trophy.
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 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 IMDA, which has helped hundreds of like-minded used car dealers to come together, share their experiences and support each other.’
Samani, who established his Stoke-based dealership 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. 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.’
At the 2013 awards, Samani scooped two trophies – Dealers’ Dealer of the Year as well as Social Media User of the Year.
Meanwhile, at the 2014 and 2015 awards, Specialist Cars was highly commended in the Best Used Car Customer Care category, while 2015 saw Samani highly commended in the Dealers’ Dealer category as well.
He was also highly commended as Dealers’ Dealer in 2017, and Samani was highly commended as Used Car Dealer Principal at the 2018 awards.
Umesh Samani is pictured at top with Mike Brewer, left, and Adrian Wilmore, group director of UK sales at category sponsor GardX, who presented him with his award