Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has announced its "biggest fleet order ever" of 1,000 Caddy vans for British Gas, as part of the energy company's replacement programme.

The fleet of Caddy two-litre SDI diesel vans has been fitted with a custom-designed racking system and a speed limiter, designed by Siemens.

The vehicles will all be delivered before the end of 2007 and are expected to cover 12,000 miles annually over the next four years.

The vehicles will be maintained through the nationwide network of dedicated Van Centres run by VW's UK unit.

British Gas General Manager Fleet, Colin Marriott, said: "We're extending the lifespan of our vehicles from three years to four years and may move to five in the future, so we have chosen the Volkswagen Caddy as we are impressed with its durability and competitive whole life costs compared to its rivals.

"We have had 50 Caddy vans on trial for three years and our experience, plus the feedback from our drivers, has been excellent.'

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles head of sales worldwide, Hans-Heiner Tueting, said from Germany: "Such a large order by British Gas confirms the durability and popularity of the Caddy, which is breaking sales records so far this year both in the UK and worldwide."

The Caddy is the entry model in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles van range, below the Transporter and Crafter, and is sold here in the UK with a choice of two diesel engines: the 69PS two-litre SDI PD and the 104PS 1.9-litre TDI PD.