Business Car Awards 2018
02 October 2018
The second Business Car Awards evening continues a long tradition of recognising and rewarding excellence in the fleet sector by our magazine. It combines a series of awards judged by a panel of experts from around the industry, with two headline awards voted for by you, the reader. The black-tie ceremony took place at the Royal Lancaster in London with around 300 guests in attendance, hosted by comedian and actress Kerry Godliman. Awards were presented for best-in-class cars as well as top performers in leasing, daily rental, fleet suppliers and, of course, fleet managers.
Manufacturer of the Year:
In our reader-voted awards, we take care to check the email addresses of voters against the Business Car distribution database to ensure we only count those by fleet decision-makers. It's reflective of the hard work undertaken by the Volvo corporate sales team in the past couple of years that Business Car readers believe Volvo provides the best offer and support on the market. Collecting the award is Steve Beattie (pictured, centre), head of business sales, Volvo Car UK.
New Company Car of the Year:
It's reassuring when our readers reach the same conclusion as our judges, with a car winning its category also chosen as the New Company Car of the Year. The XC40 looks attractive and distinctive alongside its premium-badge rivals. Volvo is now regularly seen as an alternative to German premium models, which is quite an achievement in our badge-conscious fleet market. Receiving the trophy is Steve Beattie, head of business sales, Volvo Car UK.
Customer Service Award:
A programme of investment in training for staff, helping maintain high levels of customer service, with a 'customer service bible' with process maps ensuring consistency for all clients, helped Fleet Alliance take the trophy in this highly competitive category. David Blackmore, Fleet Alliance commercial director (pictured, centre), collected the award, and judges noted that in spite of moves towards greater automation, the company retains the personal touch where it matters.
Grosvenor Leasing was judged to offer unrivalled support to clients seeking to reduce the environmental impact of their fleets throughout the process. The company also practices what it preaches, with evidence of reductions in emissions in its own fleet, as well as quadrupling the number of charging points available at its Kettering headquarters for staff and visitors. Mark Gallagher, Grosvenor's green fleet specialist (pictured, centre), collected the trophy.
Rental Company of the Year:
Judges sought to reward innovation and a forward-looking approach at Enterprise that has led to continued growth. Choices range from hiring an EV for an hour to an HGV for five years, while the company has also piloted a platform to connect car club and daily rental technologies. It led to Enterprise following up last year's win with another. Collecting the award is Joanna Vickers (pictured, centre), head of sales - fleet and leasing, at Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Fleet Manager of the Year:
David Fisher - Rexel
David Fisher (pictured, centre), who received the award sponsored by Odo, is no stranger to our stage and our list of award-winners. Already undertaking measures that had improved safety and reduced fleet costs, he more recently has implemented a fuel card supply tender, with a potential saving of more than a quarter of a million pounds a year, as well as a programme to monitor driver behaviour and reduce fuel costs, and moves to promote alternative fuels where appropriate.
Leasing Company of the Year up to 25,000 vehicles:
Ogilvie Fleet has increased its leased fleet size by more than 1,000 company cars and vans in the past 12 months with close to an extra 2,000 units under fleet management. It has also worked to allay fears over end-of-contact charges, and set up a rental division to adapt to greater demand for short-term hire. Jo Clark and Ashley Crookes (pictured, centre), both directors of sales at Ogilvie Fleet, received the award, which was sponsored by Adesa.
Leasing Company of the Year more than 25,000 vehicles:
Arval's broad range of product offerings across the full range of business vehicle use encouraged our judging panel to choose it as the winner of Leasing Company of the Year for larger contract hire operations. Its consultancy team has been in demand with so many changes affecting fleet operation in 2018 and beyond, and it has provided unstinting support. Elliott Woodhead (pictured, centre), deputy general manager at Arval, collected the award, sponsored by Adesa.
An appetite for innovation has seen Arval reduce its reliance on traditional sales channels, and reduce the time between vehicle return and disposal. Its online remarketing platform, Motor Trade, also has an appraisal system that further streamlines the process of publishing vehicles for sale online to just one day on average from the vehicle becoming available. Joel Lund (pictured, centre), service delivery director at Arval, received the award.
Licence Check's Davis product (driver and vehicle information solutions) is a cloud-based software tool that manages driver compliance, ensuring duty of care is addressed. It manages the permission process and carries out a full DVLA driving licence check verifying entitlements, recording penalty points as well as flagging disqualified or expired licences. Richard Brown (pictured, centre), managing director of Licence Check, received the award, sponsored by Volvo.
Green Fleet of the Year:
Leeds City Council
Leeds City Council is always seeking new ways to reduce its environmental impact, and it's also on course to have one of the largest local authority electric fleets in the UK, with 44 vehicles in use at the time of its awards submission and a further 51 on order. Terry Pycroft (pictured, centre), head of service at Leeds City Council, has been at the forefront of its changes and received the award, sponsored by Ensto.
National Accident Repair
National Accident Repair Group impressed our judges with its new iDeploy product, allowing customers to book their own repairs online with a few clicks. The self-service app allows drivers to choose when and where their vehicle is repaired without needing to contact body shops or fleet managers. Receiving the award sponsored by BMW-Mini are sales director Barry Nyblen (centre left), and Paul Siemonek, corporate client business manager (centre right).
Best Green Car:
Jaguar's first attempt at an electric production car turned out to be one of the pleasant surprises of the year. It might be expensive, with a list price of more than £60,000, but with all-wheel drive and 400hp, the I-Pace has true performance car credentials in a roomy and practical SUV package. The Best Green Car Award, sponsored by the AA, was collected by Paul O'Brien (pictured, centre), national fleet business manager at Jaguar Land Rover.
Best Small Car:
The latest Ford Fiesta, introduced in 2017, picks up where its bestselling predecessor left off, with improved technology, better comfort and a classier interior. It's one of the few small cars that appeals equally to drivers and fleet managers, combining a stylish image with low running costs. Collecting the Best Small Car Award, sponsored by the AA, is Sergio Fonseca (pictured, centre), Ford of Britain contract hire and leasing manager.
Best Lower-medium Car:
Launched just in time to be assessed by our judges for the 2018 Business Car Awards, the new Ford Focus takes a big leap forward compared with the third-generation car it replaces. With new or updated engines, and new technology for improved convenience and safety, the latest Focus is tough to beat in a line-up of very capable and desirable rivals. Sergio Fonseca (pictured, centre), Ford of Britain contract hire and leasing manager, collected the award, sponsored by the AA.
Best Upper-medium Car:
Such is the depth of talent of the latest Skoda Superb, it manages to scoop the Best Upper-medium Car trophy three years into its life cycle. Its combination of space, comfort and classy looks make it a car user-choosers would happily consider alongside more established mainstream rivals. It also offers one of the most capable estate cars on the marker. Matt Hattersley (pictured, centre), national fleet sales manager, received the award, sponsored by the AA.
Best Compact Premium Car:
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, launched this summer, is a much more complete package than its predecessor, moving the goalposts for technology and safety. Mercedes-Benz has also decided to broaden its appeal with a four-door saloon version this time around, as well as the five-door hatchback. The award, sponsored by the AA, was collected by Rob Morris (pictured, centre), national fleet operations manager at Mercedes-Benz.
Best Premium Car:
The A4 set new benchmarks in this sector when it was launched three years ago, and even now, there is no other premium car that can quite match its combination of class, style, low operating costs, technology, comfort and safety. Audi can expect tougher competition from new or revised models next year, but for now, the A4 is still the car to beat. Collecting the award, sponsored by the AA, is Charlie Rowney (pictured, centre), contract hire and leasing manager at Audi UK.
Best Executive Car:
BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series has impressed since its introduction in 2017, elevating the car above its rivals for comfort, technology, efficiency and driving dynamics, and the early availability of plug-in hybrid variants - crucial in this sector as a low-tax alternative to diesel - cemented its position at the top of the class. Amanda Hook-Brown (pictured, centre), corporate operations strategy manager at BMW Mini, collected the Best Executive Car Award, sponsored by the AA.
Best Luxury Car:
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has often been the default choice for chairmen, chief executives and chauffeur businesses. A range of updates to the latest S-Class in 2017 once again gave it the edge over its luxury saloon rivals, embracing the very latest convenience and safety technology while ensuring the most impressive levels of comfort, space and running costs in this class. Receiving the Best Luxury Car Award, sponsored by the AA, is Rory Lumsdon (pictured, centre), head of PR for Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars.
Best Compact SUV:
The newest SUV to join the Volkswagen range also happens to be one of the best on the market. The T-Roc focuses on style and agility, and offers a broad range of engines as well as the option of four-wheel drive, offering something for job needs or user-chooser drivers. And despite its small footprint on the road, it offers almost as much interior space as a Golf. Collecting the award, sponsored by the AA, is Doug Hyatt (pictured, centre), national fleet sales manager at Volkswagen UK.
Best Mid-size SUV:
Volvo seems to be hitting the spot with every new product launch these days, and the XC40 is no exception. A rival to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Jaguar E-Pace, the XC40 successfully combines some of the excellent design and technology of the larger XC90 and XC60, but is given a more youthful appeal with its agile handling and fresher feel. It also scores very well on running costs. Sarah Symcox (pictured, centre), national business sales manager, collected the AA-sponsored award.
Best Large SUV:
The XC90 began Volvo's current string of hits in 2015. It set the template for the range of distinctive high-end cars wearing the Volvo badge we have seen since then, and three years on, it is still class-leading. Does any other large SUV offer a plug-in hybrid with seven seats and a spare wheel? That's how well developed the XC90 is. Collecting the award sponsored by the AA is Sarah Symcox (pictured, centre), national business sales manager at Volvo Car UK.
Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer
We might have become SUV-obsessed as a car-buying community, but some of us just need space for seven people without all that high-riding ruggedness. The Citroën C4 Spacetourer does that job better than any other car, according to our judges, while feeling comfortable, sophisticated and offering low running costs. Nigel Ward (pictured, centre), head of corporate sales at Citroën, picked up the award, sponsored by the AA.