The jury of the prestigious European International Bus & Coach of the Year Awards has decided to expand its catalogue of awards and create a new Minibus of the Year award. This award fills a gap that existed in Europe to date: a prize for minibuses, microbuses and midibuses designed for professional passenger transport.
The new Minibus of the Year Award was made possible by an agreement with IFEMA, the entity organising the International Bus and Coach Trade Fair (FIAA) that will be held on 23 to 26 May at the Feria de Madrid. The opening ceremony of the FIAA, which will be attended by a large contingent from the international press, backed by the powerful group of specialist media partners that organizes the fair, has been chosen as the venue for awarding the trophy to the winning vehicle.
To select the winning model, the jury will first put the competitors through a demanding series of tests, with the support and assistance of the FIAA. Miguel Sáez, director of the magazine Autobuses & Autocares and a Spanish member of the international jury, plus the team of professionals of this publication, will be responsible for organising the tests and ensuring that all runs smoothly.
The tests, which will take place over several days, will include performance tests on a real circuit viewed from both the driver’s and passengers’ perspective. The impressions and data obtained will then be evaluated by the members of the jury,who will vote to decide the winning vehicle. The competitors will take part at the express invitation of the jury.
Autobuses & Autocares magazine has been on the jury of the International Bus & Coach of the Year Awards since they were created in 1989. It is considered by the specialist media to be the leading passenger road transport magazine in Spain.
The FIAA is this country's trade benchmark in terms of bus and coach technology, design, equipment and safety. On alternate years, it turns the halls of IFEMA into a meeting place for all the companies involved in passenger transport and the supply industry. The strong participation of companies, the support of the major associations and the highly representative selection on display make the FIAA the reference point for the sector and the most complete showcase of all aspects of these vehicles, including bodywork, components, accessories and technology, maintenance, transport infrastructure and associations, organisations and services.
The jury of the International Bus & Coach of the Year was created in 1989 with 12 journalists specializing in bus and coach reporting from 12 European countries. The jury is currently made up of the major road transport magazines from 22 European countries. The last to join were the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
The prize for the first edition of Bus of the Year went to the Neoplan Metroliner, which stood out from the other competitors due to its carbon design. In recent years, the Bus of the Year Award ceremony has taken place at the Busworld fair in Kortrijk, Belgium, and the Coach of the Year Award ceremony at the IAA show in Hanover, Germany.