Volkswagen has scooped the prestigious Fleet News Fleet Manufacturer of the Year award, for the third year running. As if this were not impressive enough, it is also the fourth time the company has taken the overall winner’s title in the 16-year history of the awards – a record unmatched by any other manufacturer.
In presenting the award, the judges said: ‘Volkswagen offers fleets a vast range, from the city car Lupo to the showcase Phaeton. It sets down the benchmark for quality combined with great running costs and good residual values.
‘Its approachable support team has handled any challenges thrown at it with professionalism, particularly when unexpected problems strike’.
The judges were looking for the ‘best of the best’ in their search for the winner, and this year in particular the competition was very intense. Winning criteria include the quality and breadth of the model range, the strength of retailer support, and any other initiatives launched during the year. The judges also considered vehicle pricing; CO2 data; projected residual values and wholelife costs; fleet/driver feedback; vehicle reliability; specification; driveability; servicing; warranty cover; aftersales fleet support; internet and e-commerce facilities.
But Volkswagen received more than just one award – the Polo was presented with ‘Best Small Car’ for the second time, the Touran with ‘Best mini-MPV’ and the Transporter with ‘Best van 2.1-2.8 tonnes’.
For ‘Best Small Car’, the judges were looking for a car that offered a ‘totally cost conscious fleet solution for the fleet operator, while offering practical and desirable motoring for the driver’.
The judges commented of the Polo: ‘Combining desirability with great residual values, a rock solid image and a great brand, it stands well above its rivals’.
The Touran, in its first year on sale, won its category award with ease. Said the judges: ‘It has the expected high build quality, good driving dynamics, high predicted residual values and seven seats that are easy to adjust’. The award joins category wins in the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2004 and Auto Express New Car Honours 2003.
The new, fifth generation Transporter – already International Van of the Year 2004 and What Van? magazine’s Van of the Year – was recognised as ‘a fine successor to what was already a fine performer… the Transporter offers a great range of engines and specifications for any business need’.
The manufacturer’s trophy was presented to Volkswagen’s Head of Fleet Services, Vincent Kinner, at a ceremony in London. Kinner said: ‘Our basic philosophy is simple: we listen to our customers, and provide a service that answers their needs. We are proud to win this award for the fourth time and are determined to continue doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.’Published 20 March 2004