In search of the “Best Company Car 2012”

Being mobile is a key ingredient to success for any company in the world. And nothing represents this more than the company car. It is the rolling business card; the very first impression a company sends out to its clients. The company car must be safe, reliable, and comfortable. It should not be a fuel waster. But what kind of car should you get for your fleet? Business mobility can be diverse: long distance saloon cars, city hoppers, or transport vehicles, you name it - there’s a company car for every mission. Still, when having to choose from a large number of car manufacturers, fleet managers are faced with a difficult task. Every year, 250 fleet managers meet for a weekend in the tiny town of Rust in southwest Germany. They are company car professionals and together manage fleets of more than 200.000 different cars.[1] During this weekend, however, they all shared the same challenge: to find the company car of the year.

Company Cars are Diesel!

During the two day test period, the fleet managers tested 66 models on 1500 test drives and thereby covered a distance of 30.000 km. Organised by the company car journal Firmenauto and DEKRA, one of the world’s leading expert institutions, the annual event is Europe’s largest independent company car test. This year’s awards are given to 17 cars that score particularly high on driving comfort and driving costs. The nine categories ranged from mini cars through saloon cars to SUVs and transport vehicles. Yet, business mobility is shifting more and more towards cost-efficient solutions. Evidently, this was also indicated in the jury’s decisions: out of the 17 winners there were 13 Diesel, 1 hybrid, 1 electric, and only 2 petrol. Therefore, Diesel clearly is the most popular company car fuel. Notably, in terms of brands, the Volkswagen Group won the reader’s choice of “Best Service for Fleet Clients” and “Best Lease and Finance”. With its Skyactive-Technology, the Mazda CX-5 won the “Innovation Price”; the co-organiser Firmenauto reports on its website; “Mazda’s model intelligently combines a low emission engine with a lightweight body work[2].

And the winner is…?

The results of Firmenauto’s and Dekra’s company car tests provide first-hand guidance to fleet managers in search of a company car that fulfils the company’s needs. However, because there are so many categories, each with its own winner, one detail is missing: THE company car of the year. Even though some companies might actually need a Range Rover Sport SDV6 SUV (winner of the SUV category) rather than a Fiat 500 0.9 Twin Air mini car (winner of the mini car category), it would have been valuable to assign a prize to an all-round car; a car that comprises all important aspects of a company car, a car that is easy to handle on narrow lanes but also provides a comfortable and relaxing ride on highways. Many fleet managers would probably choose a middle class car (winner: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics Edition) as such an all-rounder. On the other hand, the fact that there isn’t an award for the best all-round company car indicates how diverse fleet vehicles are and must be. Generally, the size and organisation of the event in Rust underline the relevance of the company car to business mobility. We are excited for next year’s competition!

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