Handover for Honda hat-trick of awards in SGMW 2019 New Year Honours

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Honda’s PR team has been presented with the trio of trophies it landed in the Southern Group of Motoring Writers’ New Year Honours List 2019.

The Japanese marque’s press fleet officer John O’Brien and PR communications manager (cars) Simon Branney scooped the Best PR Newcomer and SGMW OBE (Operating Beyond Expectation) awards respectively, while the Honda Urban EV was judged the One to Watch 2019 – one of several electric cars to catch SGMW members’ eye in this year’s awards.

The trophies were handed over at a roadshow event celebrating the latest Honda CR-V models and staged at Alexander House Hotel, near East Grinstead, on Wednesday, February 13.

The picture above shows Honda PR team members Rebecca Diver-Clarke, left, and John O’Brien, second right, with the trio of awards after the presentation made by SGMW members, left to right, Sue Baker, Ben Griffin and publicity officer Steve Loader.

John O’Brien with his SGMW Best Newcomer trophy.

John O’Brien, who emerged ahead of Vauxhall press and heritage fleet administrator Synneva Spittel and Peugeot media relations executive Mason Finney to take best newcomer, said: “I feel particularly honoured because I know Synneva and Mason were both in the running and easily deserve this award as well. I’m delighted that Simon [Branney] was honoured too.

“I hope our hat-trick was also symbolic of the work by the whole Honda press office and the great Honda products we currently offer, are set to offer, and the wonderful cars on our heritage fleet.

“I’m pleased too that the Honda Urban EV caught the eye of SGMW members and landed the One To Watch award. It has us excited here, so it’s good to know it’s already eagerly awaited by motoring writers.”

Sadly, Simon Branney was unable to receive his award in person, due to a company commitment in Germany, but it is hoped that a formal handover to him can be made when Honda attends this year’s SGMW Charity Karting GP – a ‘save the date’ bulletin for April 4 has just gone out to all car industry PR departments.

SGMW chairman Ian Robertson said: “This was only our second New Year Honours List and made more memorable by Honda driving off with three of the seven awards. Two of those marked excellence in the delivery of PR that helps SGMW members do their job – a key reason why these awards were conceived.

Honda’s triple whammy of SGMW awards.

“The third ‘gong’ was awarded for a car that group members are desperate to drive when it arrives: the Honda Urban EV, with its Golf GTI Mk 1/Peugeot 205 GTi retro looks, partnered with what is tipped to be a state-of-the-art electric powertrain.”

The other New Year Honours winners were:

Best PR Office – awarded to the operation consistently delivering the best all-round or forward-thinking service to SGMW members throughout the year. WINNER: Kia.

Best in PR Innovation – awarded for an unusual or particularly excellent launch, driving route or any imaginative addition to an event of the PR year in general. WINNER: Vauxhall (particularly for its Heritage Fleet).

Dark Horse of the Year – a car that surprised SGMW members, either by its arrival or just how good it was. WINNER: Suzuki Jimny.

SGMW Car of the Year. WINNER: Hyundai Kona Electric.

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