Fleet Car Manufacturer of the Year
This category is presented to the car manufacturer that has improved CO₂ ratings of its standard fleet offerings and expanded the range of lower CO₂ models and alternatively fueled options available to fleet customers.
2018 Winner: Toyota
Toyota and Lexus petrol electric hybrid models now account for 55 per cent of the UK’s alternatively fuelled market. The company continues to increase the options available to fleet customers and has more hybrid and PHEV models available than any other manufacturer. Over the last ten years, CO2 has been reduced by over 30 per cent in its passenger models. The new Auris, available in 2019, will be the first Toyota to offer a choice of two electric hybrid powertrains.
Volvo is aiming for fully electric cars to make up 50 per cent of its global sales by 2025. The XC60 and XC90 SUVs, V90 estate and S90 saloon models are currently available with the T8 Twin Engine, Volvo’s plug in hybrid technology. The soon to be available S60 saloon is the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine as the manufacturer eyes a future beyond the traditional combustion engine.
Demand for hybrid Mercedes-Benz models has grown substantially in recent years. Last year, PHEVs accounted for 9.2% of C-Class saloon sales and 14.2% C-Class estate sales. Its third generation plug-in hybrid technology, to be marketed under the EQ brand, features a nine-speed automatic gearbox and will feature a longer electric-only range.
BMW Group published revised fuel economy and emissions data for its entire range of vehicles in accordance with the new test procedure (WLTP) well ahead of the September 2018 deadline. Despite the more stringent requirements, BMW’s electric and plug-in hybrid range performed particularly well with the top-selling BMW 530e Saloon increasing by just 3 grams to 49g/km. In 2018, the 225xe Premium Active Tourer and MINI Clubman City were added to the electric range.
The Hyundai IONIQ offers separate hybrid, full electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains within one body type, enabling fleet managers to specify the model depending on driving style, travel frequency, and the distances typically covered. The use of ecologically sensitive materials in IONIQ’s cabin adds to its green credentials for environmentally-conscious fleets.
Kia has always had a reputation for reliability and the South Korean manufacturer continues to offer an industry-leading seven-year 100,000-mile warranty – an attractive option to fleet managers. Niro and Optima models are currently available as plug in hybrid variants and from 2019, a fully electric Niro will offer up to 300 miles of zero emissions driving and is one of 31 electrified vehicles Kia plans to launch by 2020.
Since last year, the BMW line-up has featured seven models that are either all-electric, like the BMW i3, or which are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that combine a conventional engine with an electric motor. The German manufacturer’s executive-class 530e was released in March, and along with the 330e, the luxurious 7 Series and X5 SUV completes BMW’s electrified iPerformance range.
Fleet managers are spoiled for choice with Toyota’s offering of seven hybrid models. The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid was launched in 2017, which has ultra low CO2 emissions from 22g/km and an average fuel consumption of up to 283mpg. Also new this year is the Toyota C-HR, which has a fuel economy of up to 72.4mpg from its hybrid powertrain. There’s also the zero-emission, hydrogen-powered Mirai.
Released this year, and with up to 174 miles of range, Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric is perfect for fleets dealing with inner-city operations. Fleets will also be able to explore other lower-emission variants of the Ioniq model, such as the hybrid, which is also new this year and has CO2 emissions of 79g/km. Alternatively, there is also the plug-in version, which can provide up to 39 miles in all-electric mode.
While the current version of the world’s best-selling electric car, the LEAF, proves ever-popular and reliable among fleets, the new second-generation will bring a host of driver assistance technologies. The launch of the longer range e-NV200 van provides a commercial vehicle perfect for longer journeys, while the all-new Micra is also a viable option among fleets with CO2 emissions of just over 100g/km. The refreshed and popular Qashqai SUV also offers versions with CO2 as low as 99g/km.
Vauxhall boasts a range of vehicles with CO2 emissions under 100g/km, including the evergreen Corsa supermini and its new Crossland X small SUV. The long‑established Astra emits the lowest amount of CO2 at 88g/km in Tech Line Nav 1.6CDTi (110PS) Start/Stop ecoTEC spec. Its new Insignia range, which comes in three body styles, boasts spacious interiors and an improved road stance.
Fiat’s range starts with the 500 city car and includes the good-value Tipo range, which also features a fleet-aimed Elite model with emissions of 89g/km and an official fuel consumption of up to 83.1mpg on the combined cycle. The Italian carmaker has also developed its eco:Drive Fleet app. In addition, its network of Fleet Specialist Dealers is available to help organisations understand what vehicle would be best suited for their needs.
The range of hybrid models available from Toyota has increased and now includes the Yaris, Auris and RAV4 SUV, with all but the RAV available in sub 100g/km CO₂ versions. With the Prius still the first option as a fuel efficient small passenger transport vehicle, the addition of a seven seater variation is sure to sustain this. In all, seven hybrid models provide fleet managers with plenty of choice.
The past year has seen BMW Corporate Sales split its clients into key accounts for larger fleets and a new division, BMW Business, for medium and small fleets. The sales force was increased, creating two new roles purely concentrating on the public sector. While the i3 electric provides a zero emissions option for city fleets, BMW’s iPerformance hybrid technology is now available on the new BMW 3 series, giving fleet managers and business drivers another lower emission option.
Introduced in May this year, the V60 D5 Twin Engine offers fleet and company car drivers CO₂ emissions of just 48g/km and qualifies for a government plug-in car grant of £2,500 as well as a 100 per cent first year writing down allowance and a BIK rate of seven per cent for 2016/17. The launch of the new 90 range is another major step in Volvo’s transformation.
Kia claims to be the fastest growing automotive brand in the world, and now has 24 specialist business dealers throughout the UK. EcoDynamics technology, which makes the most of Intelligent Stop and Go, features across its wide range of fleet offerings, from the Picanto city car through to the all-new Optima plug-in hybrid. A comprehensive selection tool helps refine the many choices available by contact hire value, P11D value, mpg, BIK value and CO2 emissions.
Following a record year of sales and an all time high market share, Nissan announced a number of appointments to its fleet team in order to better support customers with 50-200 vehicles. As well as the zero emissions Leaf and the e-NV200 van, Nissan now offers four models with CO₂ below 100g/km, including the Micra, Note, Pulsar and Qashqai.
This year the big news from Hyundai was the launch and availability of the Ioniq, the worlds first car to offer three electrified powertrains. Hybrid and pure electric (which uses a 28kWh lithium-ion polymer battery with an estimated range of 110 miles) variants are available now, with a PHEV model arriving in 2017. Efficiency is achieved via a high-performance HVAC system, low-rolling-resistance tyres and a system that predicts energy requirements based on the programmed route.
The German marque is the brand that all other vehicle manufacturers operating in the fleet sector must aspire to beat. Initially through its ConnectedDrive and EfficientDynamics technologies, which are now commonplace across its vehicle range, BMW has defined the next generation of models in the revolutionary i3 and i8 electric cars. With fuel-sipping, low emission models to fit virtually every company car choice list, including the new 2 and 4 Series, X4 and X5, amongst the lowest whole life costs coupled with improved levels of support, alongside the arrival of electric cars and a radical approach to ‘mobility’, the brand has the biggest green halo in the market. With a new hatchback introduced earlier in the year that produces just 89 grams per kilometer, and their class-leading saloon, with its facelift, achieving an impressive 74 miles per gallon.