The operational performance, wholelife costs and driver appeal of the Ford Focus, the Ford Transit Connect and Ford Transit have been recognised by Britain’s leading fleet operators.
The three vehicles topped their respective classes in the annual ACFO (Association of Car Fleet Operators) Fleet Car and Vans of the Year Awards - the first time that one manufacturer has swept the board.
Ford’s achievement will be recognised on Wednesday, November 3 at ACFO’s annual Awards Dinner where the manufacturer’s representatives will be presented with inscribed silver salvers.
The Transit Connect and the Transit each retain their awards from last year. In fact, it is the tenth year in succession that the iconic Transit has won the ACFO Fleet Panel Van of the Year Award.
Although the Focus has been Britain’s best-selling car for all but two months of the six years it has been on sale in the UK, this is the first time that the Focus range has won the ACFO award, which usually goes to a car in the upper medium sector.
ACFO chairman Tony Leigh said: ‘Our members are continually evaluating vehicles and use their expertise to assess cars and vans against a wide range of real-life criteria including wholelife costs, operational performance, suitability for the task and fleet and driver appeal. The whole support package from the manufacturers and their dealers are also very important factors.
‘These annual awards recognise class-leading performance where it matters - in daily operation as company and personal transport. Fleets have never had such a wide choice of superb cars and vans and this year Ford has shown that is has excelled against high quality competition.
‘The Focus has been a fleet favourite since its launch in 1998 and during its life it has been, for many fleets, the benchmark car. For the model to win ACFO’s Car of the Year title in its run-out year is proof that the Focus remains a fine vehicle. We look forward to seeing if the all-new model can be a worthy successor to the crown in 2005.’
Mr Leigh added: ‘The Transit has always been Britain’s most popular van and that position is not under threat, while the Transit Connect has already found a significant niche for itself with fleets and retains its Fleet Light Van of the Year Award having only been on sale for just over two years.’
Ford’s director, fleet operations, Kevin Griffin said: ‘Being recognised for providing the best car, light van and panel van to the fleet business is a great honour. This is recognition for Ford products as well as the excellent value and service which Ford and Ford dealers continue to offer to fleet managers.
‘The ACFO membership represents a demanding group who need to constantly balance driver desire and business sense. Focus has continued to come up trumps in both. I can assure you that we aren’t resting on our laurels either. The all-new Ford Focus, which goes on sale in January, will show you that the best will get even better.
‘For the Ford Transit and Transit Connect to scoop ACFO’s Panel Van of the Year and Light Van of the Year once again is high praise. Ford commercial vehicles have been the ‘Backbone of Britain’ for generations and continue to lead the market in safety, security and cost of ownership.’
ACFO believes that its Fleet Car and Vans of the Year Awards are highly prized by vehicle manufacturers, because they are based on members’ detailed day-to-day operating experience of vehicles actually in use in their fleets, over a minimum12-month period. This provides a clear separation of the ACFO poll from many others: it relies on hard, practical experience rather than ‘showroom appeal’. It is for this reason that the ACFO accolades are so highly prized by the manufacturers.
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