Saturday, November 26, 2005

Van of the Year Awards

Here's a thought: is it better for sector or industry awards to be clustered within a short time-frame, or to spread them out across the year? By clustering events within the same week, it could be argued that the larger media organisations may be more likely to cover the events; by spreading them out, it helps differentiate the various awards (and their sponsors) and marks them out as separate events and honours. This question arose last week as two different UK van of the year awards were announced. The What Van? Awards were presented at a ceremony in London's Sketch restaurant and gallery on Thursday. What Van? magazine is the UK's largest dedicated van magazine with a readership that includes owners, operators and transport managers. The awards were judged by the magazine's editorial team and based in part on the driving appraisals and road tests conducted by What Van? over the previous 12 months. For the record, the 2005 What Van? Van of the Year Award was won by the Iveco Daily. Meanwhile the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) also revealed its 2005 Fleet Car and Vans of the Year Awards this week. These awards have been running for 22 years and are judged by a poll of ACFO members. ACFO believes that this approach distinguishes its awards and contributes to their prestige within the industry. As the organisation says on its website: "ACFO believes that its Fleet Car and Vans of the Year Awards are highly prized by vehicle manufacturers, because they are based on members' detailed day-to-day operating experience of vehicles actually in use in their fleets, over a minimum 12-month period. This provides a clear separation of the ACFO poll from many others: it relies on hard, practical experience rather than 'showroom appeal'." For the record, the Ford Transit won the ACFO Fleet Panel Van of the Year award for 2005, the 11th year in succession that the Transit has won this accolade. The ACFO Fleet Card or the Year award went to the Vauxhall Astra. Whether the timing of the ACFO and What Van? awards helped to boost the coverage for these winners, or diluted the prestige of each honour, is still up for debate.