Mel Chan didn't accompany fellow Bayswater Vehicles owner Rob Townshend to Sydney for Hyundai's recent global summit, saying they didn't think they would win an award "and somebody has to hold the fort", Mr Chan said.
Bayswater Vehicles was nominated as the New Zealand representative by the New Zealand Hyundai distributor.
Mr Townshend said out of the dozens of nations represented at the ceremony he was thrilled to find himself sitting beside Hyundai's president at the black-tie awards dinner.
"The New Zealand distributor hasn't even met him and all the dealers were flocking to him."
"I was pretty honoured just to be sitting at that table, to be honest.
"Across from me was the dealer who won from India and I asked him how many people he had working for him and he said 1400.
Bayswater's dealerships employ 40.
"I said, 'Oh - that's nice'."
On the back of a dossier provided by the New Zealand distributor Bayswater took out the top award for the Asia-Pacific region which includes the home of Hyundai, South Korea.
"I was ... a little bit emotional and a little bit blown away. There is us from little old Hawke's Bay. I was stoked - it is such a great honour for us and New Zealand to achieve that."
Mr Chan said there was good reason Bayswater succeeded.
"We at punching above our weight and we have done so for a long period of time. Historically we have been number one here in passenger cars, which is probably one of the reasons why they put us forward.
"We are running in excess of 20 per cent of market share in Napier. Nationally it's probably the running at about 7 per cent or 8 per cent."
Other factors were customer feedback, time in the industry and capital investment.
Mr Townshend went into business in 1987 and now has four dealerships and is the authorised franchise dealer for seven car brands.
The Hastings branch recently underwent a $1.7 million refurbishment.
"I'm so proud of the staff and my business partner - I am just a cog in the machine," Mr Townshend said.
He was also proud of his staff following recently winning an IBM Kenexa Best Workplaces award following an employee engagement survey.
After the summit the dealers were treated to a trip on a private jet to Coffs Harbour where they followed the WRC rally in helicopters.
Spying Kiwi Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon Mr Townshend recovered from his award-ceremony humbleness to publicly offer him some driving tips.
Mr Paddon, who opened the Bayswater Subaru Hyundai & Isuzu Hastings showrooms in May, played along with the brash offer to receive a rally-driving cliche.
"Back it in and stand on it."