The AA is to begin selling new and used cars in a joint venture with Inchcape, it was announced this morning.
The association, which is owned by Centrica, said the AA-branded service would begin selling cars - supplied by Inchcape – early next year. The AA owns 70% of the operation and Inchcape the remainder. Consumers will also be offered a range of motoring products, including insurance.
Total investment in the venture is £4m.
A consumer launch of the 'all-makes' service will take place in January and the AA is releasing few details until then. But an AA spokesman said it would be largely an internet-based offering, but that customers would be able to order cars through a customer call centre. “We will become a market leader,” he said. “Our strength will be in core brand values of trust and reassurance we have with the consumer.”
The spokesman said car sales was part of an unfolding Centrica strategy for the motoring sector, which will be added to in the coming months. The purchase of the Halfords centres earlier this year was also part of this strategy which enabled the AA to provide a portfolio sell of sales and servicing.
Roger Wood, Centrica executive director and managing director of the AA, said: “This gives us the opportunity to launch a product which will bring the AA's values and customer service skills into the car market. We can expect it to influence consumer attitudes to owning and running a car.”
Inchcape chief executive Peter Johnson said: “Inchcape's strategy has been to provide innovative business solutions to the automotive industry. This venture clearly demonstrates Inchcape's strategy at work and is an example of the new distribution channels which we will develop both individually and with selected partners.”