These annual industry 'Oscars' recognise the strongest, highest quality vehicles, products, services and suppliers in the market, based on the opinions of an expert panel of judges.
Full details of our all-important search for the best fleet operators in the UK and in Europe will start next week.
Fleet decision-makers are invited to play a key role in the judging process this year, because we are asking Fleet News readers and Fleet NewsNet users to nominate their best fleet supply companies, best company cars and vans, and best fleet manufacturer.
Nominations can be made by filling in the form accessed through the link below.
Fleet NewsNet will accept nominations until the end of this year, before drawing up a shortlist for each category. Votes received will be taken into account by the judges, but companies can also nominate themselves for all award categories this year.
Companies that wish to enter should complete the same voting forms, but make it clear they are self-nominating.
Shortlisted companies will then be invited to complete questionnaires relevant to the award for which they have been nominated, and will also be able to submit additional supporting material. The expert panel of judges will use this information and their own independent market knowledge to determine award winners.
A jury of 'hands-on' fleet executives, wholelife cost experts, residual value specialists, leasing and fleet management directors, and Fleet News' staff will judge the car and van awards and Fleet Manufacturer of the Year award, based on a shortlist created from reader nominations.
Cars and vans will only be eligible if they were launched, on sale and in showrooms by October 31, 2002. Cars and vans launched after this date will not qualify for the 2003 Fleet News Awards.
The awards will be presented at the fleet 'night of the year' on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at the Le Meridien Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
Six steps to winning a Fleet News award
1. Fleet News' readers vote for their favourite cars, vans, products, services and suppliers. Votes must be received by December 7, 2002.
2. Supply companies nominate themselves for the relevant award categories. Nominations must be received by December 7, 2002.
3. Fleet News creates a shortlist for each category.
4. Shortlisted supply companies receive a detailed questionnaire from Fleet News that must be filled in and returned to Fleet News with any supporting material by January 31, 2003.
5. Expert panel of judges assesses the submitted entries and the shortlisted vehicles.
6. The winners are presented with their awards at a glittering gala dinner on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at the Le Meridien Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
Car manufacturer awards
BEST SMALL CAR
This is the traditional supermini, a car judged to be suitable for local work by a junior field person or public sector employee. The winning car will provide a 'totally cost-conscious' fleet solution for the fleet operator, while offering practical and desirable motoring for the driver.
BEST LOWER MEDIUM CAR
Lower-medium cars are typically provided for field staff and, in some organisations, supervisors in the field. They may also represent the first genuine level of 'remuneration car', particularly with the trend towards vehicle downsizing by employees. This car must combine the elements of being operationally efficient, wholelife cost competitive, and desirable (even aspirational) for the driver. A comprehensive range of body styles (including an estate variant) and engines is crucial for success in this category.
BEST UPPER MEDIUM CAR
This is the traditional 'family' car, provided to more senior field staff, or as a car for office-based managers who make regular field trips. Challenged from below by desirable and larger lower medium cars, and from above by wholelife cost competitive premium cars, this car must distinguish itself as operationally efficient, highly cost-effective and driver desirable/aspirational. A comprehensive range of body styles and engines is essential for success in this category.
BEST PREMIUM UPPER MEDIUM CAR
This car is the favourite of middle to senior management and very much aimed at user-choosers. Nevertheless, value for money, a broad range and tax-efficiency all remain vitally important, as does extremely high driver appeal. This category will also include 4x4s that would provide a genuine alternative to other cars in this class.
BEST EXECUTIVE CAR
This is a highly aspirational car for senior board members, chief executives, business owners and partners in substantial professional practices. The car's image is crucial, so price and tax efficiency are possibly less important than in other categories, although in an age of business transparency, this car must still show itself to be competitive with its peers in terms of wholelife costs, specification and company car tax.
BEST LUXURY CAR
This is the ultimate car for the head of an organisation. Even here, however, the traditional 'money no object' mentality is now being qualified by tax-efficiency and environmental-friendliness so fuel economy, price and tax efficiency issues must be considered.
This category is for the very specific lower medium car-based mini-MPVs. Seating and load flexibility, wholelife costs, driver appeal and a wide range of engines are all pre-requisites for the winner of this category.
This category covers the range of large 'people carriers' — whether five, six, seven or eight seats are involved. On fleets, these cars are typically available to user-choosers at middle and senior management level. Seating and load flexibility, wholelife costs, engine range, specification and tax-efficiency will all feature strongly as judging criteria in this category.
BEST VAN UNDER 2.1 TONNES
A car-derived van or light medium van which will be judged on its payload, internal dimensions and door opening capabilities. Driver comfort and safety, security, durability, reliability and wholelife costs will also be taken into account.
BEST VAN 2.1 TONNES TO 2.8 TONNES
This new category recognises the development of several new light panel vans that are becoming increasingly common on company fleets.
The judges will be measuring payload, internal dimensions and door opening capabilities, while also taking into account durability, reliability, security and wholelife costs alongside driver comfort and safety.
BEST VAN 2.8 TONNES - 3.5 TONNES
This award will go to the best large van that can nonetheless be driven on a car licence. The van will be judged on payload, internal dimensions, door versatility and clear floor space/dimensions, alongside driver comfort and safety, security and cost of ownership. The vehicle's range and versatility will also be taken into account.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD FOR CAR MANUFACTURERS
This new award, made in association with the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association, will recognise the car manufacturer that takes the environment to the heart of its global operations.
Based on a comprehensive matrix, it measures the environmental performance of car makers in five areas: vehicle design, the manufacturing process, the environmental-friendliness of the product range, the end-of-life recyclability of models and environmental stewardship and citizenship programmes.
BEST FLEET MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
This award recognises the best fleet sales and support team at a vehicle manufacturer. The judges will take into account the range and depth of the model range offered by the manufacturer (4/5dr/estate variants and petrol/diesel availability).
They will also be focusing closely on additional support services for both fleet customers and company car drivers, with particular attention paid to new initiatives introduced in 2002.
The judges will also consider new 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.
Supply company awards
BEST INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
This award is looking for a focused 'offline' product or service of particular benefit to fleet customers and/or their drivers and employees. The innovation may offer more cost- effective management control of all, or a particular aspect of, the fleet or be an innovative approach to an issue or concern or interest in the industry, including areas such as safety and the environment.
The innovation must have been fully launched and be fully operational in 2002.
BEST DAILY RENTAL COMPANY
This award is for the short term hire company judged to provide the most professional and cost-effective car and light van daily rental service to fleets.
Among the criteria judged will be price, flexibility and range of services, internet-friendliness from a customer perspective, range and quality of vehicles, the quality of information delivered to fleet operators for management control and strategic planning purposes and ease and security of bookings.
BEST ONLINE SOLUTION
This award will acknowledge an internet, e-commerce or online initiative that adds value and improves efficiency for fleet customers. The web-based facility must be useful and user-friendly for fleet operators and/or company car drivers. The innovation must have been fully launched and be fully operational in 2002.
BEST FAST-FIT COMPANY AWARD
This award recognises the company that delivers the best fast-fit services to fleet customers and their company car and van drivers. Services included in this category would encompass vehicle servicing and maintenance, including tyre, exhaust and battery replacement. The judges will assess the range and quality of services offered (including online developments), authorisation processes, invoicing accuracy, staff training levels, convenience for drivers in using either branches or mobile services, and the overall excellence of service delivery.
BEST CONTRACT HIRE COMPANY
This award is for the contract hire and/or fleet management company judged to provide the best all-round customer service levels in terms of off-the-shelf products and specific tailored services, cost-effectiveness, client management information, internet-friendliness from a customer perspective, and all-round support for fleet customers and their company car drivers.
BEST RISK MANAGEMENT COMPANY
This award is for either a specialist risk or accident management company or a company (such as a leasing company or driver training company) which has put risk management at the heart of its product range. The judges are looking for the company which has developed and promoted solutions to help employers meet their health and safety and duty of care responsibilities towards their drivers.
BEST GLASS REPAIR/REPLACEMENT COMPANY AWARD
This award acknowledges the company deemed by the judges to offer the highest standards of service in the replacement of windscreens and side glass. Priority will be given to speed of response to client needs, the quality of the work conducted and the management of the authorisation and invoicing process.
BEST ALTERNATIVE COMPANY CAR SCHEME
This award will recognise the product that best delivers to both employer and employee the business efficiency, transport solution, human resource rewards and peace of mind associated with a traditional company car, but without incurring company car tax.
BEST TELEMATICS SYSTEM
Vehicle tracking technology and navigation and traffic information systems are revolutionising both employers' ability to control their fleets and company drivers' experience behind the wheel. This award will recognise the telematics system that best meets employer needs in terms of monitoring vehicle use, keeping vehicles mobile and secure, and improving the efficiency of staff; or enhances the driving experience of employees. Ideally the winning application will prove highly beneficial to both employer and employee.
BEST DISPOSAL/ REMARKETING COMPANY
This award will go to the company which combines excellent service levels to fleet customers with the delivery of maximum resale values. The judges will be looking for a creative remarketing approach that explores a variety of sale opportunities and helps fleets achieve optimum residual values for their vehicles, supporting disposal managers with high quality management information, market intelligence and advice.
BEST BREAKDOWN COMPANY
Vehicle reliability has dramatically improved in recent years, but mechanical breakdowns do still occur and driver safety and mobility remains a pressing problem. This new award will recognise the roadside rescue and recovery company that delivers the best service both to corporate drivers and fleet customers. While the judges will look closely at companies' speed of response and roadside repair rates, they will also value additional services that have a fleet specific focus.
This umbrella award will go to the best company - of whatever size - which provides outstanding service to the company car, van and fleet industry. This service may involve the physical supply of goods and services, or the delivery of consultative expertise that aids fleet efficiency. The 'quality' of the company should exceed all industry standards and should extend to every aspect of the business and its relationship with its customers. External recognition of the company's qualities through national/international criteria will be considered as will in-house training, recruitment and retention standards.
Your chance to vote in the Fleet News Awards 2003
We are inviting Fleet NewsNet users to vote for their top fleet vehicles and supply companies. This is your chance to have a say in deciding who will win a Fleet 'Oscar' in 2003. Simply click on the link below to see the voting form. Fill this and then press 'Send'.
Now vote for your favourites
To view the booking form click here.