The Volkswagen Passat was voted the best new company car of 2011 at a ceremony attended by almost 1,400 fleet industry representatives this week.
The annual Fleet News Awards also witnessed BMW crowned as the Fleet Manufacturer of the Year in another headline award voted for by readers of the trade publication (sister title to AM).
The ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on March 21 also saw awards for Ford, Skoda, Seat, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and BMW in the car categories.
Cars were judged on a range of criteria, including operating costs (depreciation, fuel, servicing, maintenance and repair, lease rates, tax liability), suitability for their use as business cars and the level of support from the manufacturers and their corporate sales teams.
The Ford Fiesta and Focus won the Best Small Car and Best Lower Medium Car categories, while the Volkswagen Passat also won Best Upper Medium Car.
Other winners included the Skoda Superb estate, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 5 Series, Toyota Land Cruiser, Seat Alhambra and Nissan Qashqai.
Meanwhile, Toyota and Lexus were given the award for Green Manufacturer of the Year, while Skoda was judged the Most Improved Fleet Manufacturer of the Year.
A panel made up of fleet industry experts as well as senior members of the Fleet News editorial team were involved in the lengthy judging process, chaired by former SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan and audited by Deloitte.
New Company Car of the Year and Fleet Manufacturer of the Year are voted on by fleet operator readers of Fleet News. The circulation database is used to allocate a code that allows voting only once to those who qualify.