BMW and Ford each had two reasons to celebrate as they shared four of the seven titles at the prestigious 2015 ACFO Awards.
The German marque underlined its status as the ultra-low emission vehicle champion winning both the Environmental Initiative of the Year and Green Vehicle of the Year with the plug-in i3.
Meanwhile, Ford has dominated the van categories during the 32-year history of the ACFO Awards and 2015 was no different as it won both the Small Van of the Year and Large Van of the Year titles.
A capacity audience of 250 ACFO members and their guests attended the annual Awards with the winners revealed during a gala dinner at the St John’s Hotel, Solihull, tonight (Wednesday, 18 November, 2015).
The ever-changing face of the UK company car market was further reflected as Jaguar won the Fleet Car of the Year Award for the first time with the all-new XE overcoming the challenge of numerous other models that received ACFO members’ votes.
The compact executive model entered showrooms only in June, but has quickly won favour with fleet decision-makers and company car drivers.
Jaguar has described the XE as a “game-changing car in the automotive industry” and ACFO chairman John Pryor said: “The XE competes in an incredibly competitive sector of the fleet market. It’s a great looking car, but critically for fleet operators offers top-notch whole life costs.”
Commenting on BMW’s double triumph, Mr Pryor said: “The government is urging fleets to take plug-in vehicle leadership as the nation moves to a low-carbon economy and BMW is in the vanguard of the drive not only with the i3, but also with support and advice.”
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which was perhaps a surprise winner last year of the Fleet Service Company of the Year Award retained the title in 2015.
Mr Pryor said: “ACFO members have welcomed the DVLA’s approach to engaging directly with them as it introduced a raft of digital services to ease the fleet vehicle administration burden. The DVLA has taken on board members’ views and responded accordingly.”
The range of online tools developed include: driver licence validation checks, V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book) access and a vehicle enquiry service.
The Volvo XC90, which went on UK sale in the summer, won ACFO’s Fleet Safety Initiative Award for its suite of life-saving features. Volvo says the model offered the “most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package available in the automotive industry”. It includes two world first safety technologies: a run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability, which is a further addition to City Safety - the umbrella name for all of Volvo’s auto brake functions
Commenting on the seven-seat luxury SUV winning ACFO’s Fleet Safety Initiative Award, Mr Pryor echoed members’ voting views saying: “The XC90 returns Volvo to the very top as the leader in car safety bringing genuinely new technology to the market.”
The ubiquitous Ford Transit won the Large Van of the Year title for the fifth consecutive year and the 19th time in the history of the Awards.
Making it a double triumph for the ‘blue oval’ was the Ford Transit Connect, which returned to pole position to win the Small Van of the Year Award having been knocked out of the winner’s circle last year. It means the Transit Connect - its stablemate the Ford Transit Custom was the runner-up in the category - was voted the nation’s favourite small fleet van for the 12th time.
Mr Pryor said: “Ford calls the Transit the backbone of Britain and that is due in no small part to ACFO members who continually recognise the key attributes of the range of models carrying the name: whole life costs, build quality and fitness for purposes.”
The Awards, which are voted online exclusively by the ACFO membership, are highly prized because unlike many other awards they reflect the day-to-day operational experience and expertise of fleet decision-makers.
Mr Pryor added: “Fleet decision-makers are reliant on motor manufacturers to deliver vehicles that are cost effective to operate, safe, reliable and environmentally-friendly and suppliers and other organisations to provide a first class service.
“Operating successfully in partnership it means that through the availability of top quality vehicles and first rate suppliers, vehicle downtime can be kept to an absolute minimum and fleet managers can focus on the efficient and effective operation of their vehicles to support their businesses.”
BMW AND FORD HIT DOUBLE TOP AS FLEET MANAGERS NAME THEIR 2015 ACFO AWARD WINNERS
Fleet Safety Initiative of the Year (sponsored by Telogis)
Winner - Volvo
Runner-up - AA DriveTech
Fleet Service Company of the Year (sponsored by Skoda)
Winner - Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Runner-up - Zenith Leasedrive
Environmental Initiative of the Year (sponsored by TR Fleet)
Winner - BMW
Runner-up - Enterprise rent-A-Car-owned City Car Club
Small Van of the Year (sponsored by Lex Autolease)
Winner - Ford Transit Connect
Runner-up - Ford Transit Custom
Large Van of the Year (sponsored by Omnia)
Winner - Ford Transit
Runner-up - Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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