Ford’s popular Transit Custom model made history at the event by retaining the pinnacle Van of the Year accolade.
The model managed to become the first vehicle to retain What Van?’s Van of the Year Award thanks to its "combination of innovation, interior quality, equipment, driving experience and sales success".
At yesterday’s event, which was held at the Indian restaurant Zaiki in London’s Kensington, Ford’s director of fleet operations Phil Hollins collected the award from What Van? Editor Paul Barker and awards sponsor Leaseplan’s Mark Lovett.
Commenting on the award-winning Transit Custom, Barker said: "It was a difficult decision to break with tradition and give our biggest award to a van that was victorious the previous year, but the Transit Custom’s impact on the light commercial vehicle market means the success is warranted."
He added: "It’s been a deservedly successful first year for the Custom, a vehicle that has moved the sector on in a whole series of ways."
Three more honours followed for Ford, with the Fiesta Van taking the ‘Small van of the Year’ award, the Transit Custom being named ‘Medium van of the Year’ and the Range topping the ‘Pick-up’ category.
The 2014 awards ceremony also saw the introduction of the What Van? Hall of Fame, with the first inductee being the Vauxhall Vivaro.
Vauxhall’s ever-present and popular Vivaro van is produced in the UK’s only major remaining LCV manufacturing base in Luton and has been on sale since 2001.
Although the Vivaro will be replaced in 2014 by an all-new model, What Van? Says that "its impact during its lifetime makes it a worthy opening entrant" into its Hall of Fame.
Other winners at the awards ceremony include the Fiat Doblo Cargo/Vauxhall Combo, which took the title of ‘Light van of the Year’, while the Nissan NV200 received What Van?’s ‘Editor’s Choice Award’.
As well as taking two awards, the Ford Transit Custom was highly commended for the ‘Safety Award’, while the Renault Twizy Cargo was highly commended for the ‘Innovation Award’ and the Ford Transit for the ‘Used Van of the Year’ title.
Although it did not take the ‘Best Website’ award at What Van?’s London event, Citroen came highly commended by the judges.