Volkswagen Passat voted best company car of the year

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.

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.

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New Volkswagen CC to make debut at Los Angeles Auto show

Volkswagen has today released the first images of its new CC, which will be officially unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16.  If it looks familiar, don’t be surprised: over 270,000 people across the world have been won over by its predecessor the Passat CC’s blend of four-door practicality and sleek coupé-like styling.

At the front, the new radiator grille has strong horizontal lines that represent Volkswagen’s new design DNA, flanked by new bi-xenon headlights and topped with a reprofiled bonnet.  The bumper is different, too, with a new extra air intake, and silver-coloured ‘winglets’ that frame the fog lights.

Along the side, the frameless doors are carried over from the previous model, but more sculpted sills, revised bumpers and the new bonnet add up to create a subtly updated silhouette.

The rear bumper has also been completely redesigned, with more emphasis on horizontal lines and a reworking of the characteristic chrome strip.  The tail lights are new as well, not just in their more dramatic design, but in their use of LEDs.  The numberplate lights are also now LED.  As before, the Volkswagen logo doubles as the handle for the boot, and it can now optionally contain a rear-view camera.

There’s one last change at the rear, too: ‘Passat’ has been dropped from the name.

While the name may have changed, a comprehensive list of standard equipment remains and expands to include features such as the standard driver alert system, as found on the Passat, and front head restraints with four-way adjustment, to reduce the risk of whiplash.  New options include High Beam Assist, which automatically controls dipping of the headlights; Side Assist, which monitors the vehicle’s blind spot; Lane Assist and adaptive cruise control with City Emergency Braking function; front climate seats with massage function; and an electrically deployed towbar.

From launch, the UK engine range will comprise 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS or 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS petrols and a 2.0-litre TDI common rail diesel with either 140 or 170 PS.  All models with 170 PS or more also now get a standard XDS differential, an electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved traction and handling.

The CC will make its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show before going on sale in the US in early 2012.  Retailers in the UK will start taking orders for the new car around the same time with first deliveries due in March.  More details including pricing will be available nearer the launch date.

For more information on the Volkswagen range visit

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