It's no secret that 2019 has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the entire country. Regardless, it has been an exciting year for the Sytner Group and car enthusiasts alike; with the pace of electric car development picking up and the rise of outrageous hypercars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie and the Mercedes-AMG One. In celebration of all the exciting things that happened this year, we've collated a few of our highlights in the list below. Take a look through and let us know your highlights on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter!
The Elite Technician Challenge Returned for 2019
Following its continued success over the years, our industry leading Elite Technician Challenge returned once again and was bigger than ever!
Featuring entrants from 10 of our franchises, this year's competition also featured two new categories: multi-brand and an apprentice-only category. That meant the once-in-a-lifetime prize - a trip to the Detroit Grand Prix with Penske Racing - was the biggest it has ever been.
As with previous years, we were proud to have Shell Helix Oils, Pirelli Tyres and CitNOW as competition sponsors.Want to know more? Definitely take a read of this
Aston Martin Took the Geneva Motorshow by Storm
This one took us (and the industry) by surprise ... at this year's Geneva Motorshow, Aston Martin unveiled three new cars and displayed Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR for the first time.
Those three new cars comprised of Valhalla (named RB 003 at the time) - a more road-focused version of Valkyrie - the Vanquish Vision Concept - a look at the mid-engined future of Aston's incredible Vanquish - and the Langonda All-Terrain Concept - a striking zero-emission luxury SUV.
All-in-all, the Aston Martin stand at Geneva was pretty awe-inspiring. It's left us rather excited for the coming years!
Rolls-Royce Manchester was Named as Regional Dealer of the Year
After just 12 months of trading at their new home in Wilmslow, Rolls-Royce Manchester were named as Regional Dealer of the Year at the prestigious Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Global Dealer Awards.
The award, which covers the UK, Western & Southern Europe and Russia, was an incredible way for us to celebrate Rolls-Royce Manchester's first year at their exquisite new dealership.
We said it then and we'll say it again now: well done to all of our colleagues at Rolls-Royce Manchester!
Volkswagen's ID R Electric Racing Car Continued Breaking Records
Following its record at the infamous Pikes Peak hillclimb last year, the Volkswagen ID R spent 2019 continuing to dominate pretty much everywhere it went.
This year, the ID R's targets were the Nürburgring (where it was 40 seconds faster than the previous EV record holder), the Goodwood Hillclimb (where it beat a Formula One car's record of 20 years) and the 99 hairpins of the Tianmen Mountains in China.
If there was ever a flag-bearer for electric car performance, the Volkswagen ID R has to be it. We're excited to see where the ID R heads next year. Any guesses?
Roger Penske was Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
This one was (and still is) pretty massive; this year, Roger Penske was awarded the highest civilian honor in the USA - the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Designed to recognise “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavours", Penske was awarded the title for his success in motorsport and services to the country.
With accolades like 18 Indy 500 wins under his belt, we're sure that you'll agree Penske is incredibly deserving of the illustrious award. Congratulations again, Roger.
Penske Corporation Acquired the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar
Speaking of Roger Penske's achievements this year, this is another fairly massive one; Penske acquiring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), IndyCar and IMS Productions.
The deal, which is currently in its final stages, will see Penske carry the future of the home of the Indy500 - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - and North America's premier open-wheel racing series, IndyCar.
Given his history of managing motorsport venues and his team's success at the Indy500, we're sure you'll agree that there's no one better than Roger Penske to move the sport and the venue into the future. We're excited about this one.
MINI Unveiled the Production Version of their First Electric Car
If there was ever an existing platform that was perfect for an electric powertrain, it arguably had to be the MINI Hatch. Well, owing to that fact, 2019 saw the unveiling of the MINI Electric.
Featuring a modified version of the MINI styling we know and love, the MINI Electric is set to feature a 32.6kW battery that produces 181bhp, 199lb ft of torque and a range of around 145 miles.
Learning from the MINI E concept of 2008, the new MINI Electric manages to maximise interior space thanks to new battery technology, subsequently maintaining a cabin very similar to ICE variants.
Sytner Group Won the Skills and Development Award at the Motor Trader Awards
Earlier this year, Melvin Rogers (Director of Human Resources), Sue Sansome (Head of Learning and Development) and their team attended the Motor Trader Awards where they were awarded the Skills and Development Award.
The award is designed to celebrate retailers that show a structured approach to developing the skills of colleagues, that offer national qualifications, innovative training and personal development opportunities to all.
Our Learning and Development team work tirelessly to ensure that all Sytner Group colleagues have access to constant training and development opportunities, so we couldn't be prouder to see those efforts rewarded at the 'Automotive Oscars'.
The Production Version of the Porsche Taycan was Officially Revealed
This was pretty massive news, especially as nearly all news sources billed Porsche's first electric car as a groundbreaking car for the industry. They weren't wrong.
Utilising two magnet synchronous motors and a 93kWh performance battery, the Porsche Taycan combines blistering performance and 300 miles of range with new 800V architecture that can see Taycan charged from 0-80% in as little as 15 minutes.
See what we mean? The Porsche Taycan was (and still is) big news. We'll have examples arriving in our dealerships early next year and you'll start seeing them on the road shortly after. This is exciting.
Volkswagen Unveiled the First Member of their New ID Family: the ID.3
When they revealed the ID.3, Volkswagen stated that it was their most important car since the iconic Golf. In fact, they're so sure of this that even the name 'ID.3' is a reference to the car being the start of Volkswagen's third major chapter.
Based on architecture that'll form the basis of 27 EVs across the Volkswagen Group, the ID.3's aim is to be the electric car for everyone; with an entry-level starting price, healthy range and practical design.
Whilst there's no doubt that the ID.3 is an important car for Volkswagen, it also stands as a very important milestone in the world of electric cars in general; making electric cars ever more accessible.
Land Rover Reinvented the Iconic Defender
Ever since the first generation of Defender was released back in the 80's, it has been a staple within Land Rover's range. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motorshow, Land Rover brought that icon into the modern day with an all-new and totally redesigned generation.
As you can imagine, bringing the Defender name out of retirement meant that Land Rover had some rather massive shoes to fill and expectations to satisfy. We'd say that they definitely have, on both counts.
The new Defender takes all of the previous generation's abilities and combines them with the newest technologies and modern styling.