A CAR dealership boss has become the first in the UK to hold two prestigious national titles at the same time.

Chris Eccles, 37, from Bowker BMW in Blackburn, was crowned dealer principal of the year in the AM Awards at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre.

In July last year, Chris beat competition from thousands of other car dealerships throughout the country to be crowned national dealer principal 2012 at the annual Motor Trader Awards.

It is the first time in history that one person has held both titles at the same time.

He said: “The AM Awards are held in such high regard in the industry that to appear in the shortlist is a massive achievement. There were some outstanding car retailers attending the awards ceremony and it was an honour to be amongst them on such a prestigious evening.

“I can honestly say it hasn’t sunk in yet that we won.

“It feels a little strange that it’s my name on the trophy, because this has been a tremendous year for the whole Bowker Motor Group. We love success. But for us, success is about the customers having a brilliant retail experience and staff who look forward to coming to work in the morning.

“I can’t thank them all enough, and hope they can all take as much satisfaction from the AM award as we did.”

Bowker BMW were also shortlisted in the excellence in customer service category for this year’s AM Awards.

The Blackburn dealership was the only one in Lancashire and one of only two BMW dealerships in the country to make it through to the national shortlists.

Bowker Motor Group marketing manager Amy Uphill was announced as the winner of the coveted BMW marketing champion of the year award at the BMW National Dealer Conference in Helsinki.

Bowker Motor Group chief executive Paul Bowker said: “Well done Chris. To receive both AM and Motor Trader awards in the same year is an historic achievement.”