NOW in their second year, the Business Van of the Year Awards, sponsored by Low Cost Vans, have become THE premier awards for the light commercial vehicle industry. And this year competition was even more fierce as the manufacturers battled it out for the top honours.
2014 saw an unprecedented number of new vans launched, while others were treated to upgrades and facelifts, making the job of the judges choosing the winners even more difficult than before.
There were honours, too, for Fiat, which won Best City Van with the Fiorino; Vauxhall, which won Best Large Trades Van with the new Vivaro and Nissan, which won Best Green Van with the eNV200
The Citroen Berlingo scooped the top award of Business Van of the Year, while Volkswagen walked off with no fewer than six awards – for Best Local Delivery Van (Caddy), Best Utility Pick-Up (Amarok), Best 4×4 Double Cab (Amarok), Best Crew Van (Transporter), Best Finance Package for Van Owners and Best Service Package for Van Owners. Citroen also won the Best Heavy Van title with the Relay.
There were honours, too, for Fiat, which won Best City Van with the Fiorino; Vauxhall, which won Best Large Trades Van with the new Vivaro and Nissan, which won Best Green Van with the eNV200.
Once again, we lined up a panel of judges which includes some of the most respected names in the LCV industry to ensure that only the very best vans won in each sector.
They were: Duncan Ward, general manager – commercial vehicles, BCA; George Alexander, chief editor commercial vehicles, Glass’s; Mark Cartwright, head of vans and light commercial vehicles at FTA; Rod Lloyd, managing director, Low Cost Vans; Eddie Parker, fleet LCV consultant at GE Capital Fleet Services; Marcus Puddy, director of commercial vehicles, Lex Autolease and Keith Hawes, chair of the judges and managing director of Magma Automotive Services.
The importance of our awards cannot be stressed too highly. Choosing the right vehicles for the job is a serious business and one which many van operators get wrong – sometimes with costly consequences.
The winners of our awards represent the cream of the cream and businessvans.co.uk readers can be assured of the very best quality if they buy and run these vehicles.
And it was not only the vehicles themselves that were in the spotlight. Finance and aftersales care is also an important area of fleet management and here Volkswagen excelled, picking up Best Finance Package for Van Owners and Best Service Package for Van Owners. With such dedication to quality, it is hardly surprising that the German manufacturer is currently riding at No2 in the sales charts with sales up 9% in 2014.
A Volkswagen spokesman said: “Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles understands that owning a van is about more than just a vehicle – it’s about support, too. That means helpful advice, affordable finance, maintenance and servicing to keep your van running more efficiently for longer.
“Our dedicated Van Centre network is the backbone of our business. With more than 100 Van Centres and Authorised Repairers throughout the UK, our expert assistance is no more than about 45 minutes away. All our staff are fully trained to solve any problems that our customers may have.”
Business Vans editorial director Ralph Morton commented:
“The Business Van of the Year awards are the only awards designed to highlight the best vans, financing and business support programmes for traders, small businesses and small fleet van operators in the SME sector.
“Giving the awards greater authority is the fact that they are fully independent and judged by an outside panel of judges, specialists in their field and in the SME sector.
“So our heartfelt congratulations to Citroen for winning the overall Business Van of the Year title. The Berlingo is a great all-rounder supported by a network that understands the requirements of small business van operators. If you only need one van – this is it: our Business Van of the Year.”