Fast-fit centres could generate thousands of pounds in profits if the European Commission lifts restrictions contained in the car distribution block exemption.
The Block Exemption expires in September 2002, and business information analyst Datamonitor suggests that the fast-fit market across Europe has the potential for expansion if rules are relaxed.
However, the report admits that the aftermarket is undergoing a period of uncertainty. It says: “Volumes are falling across most product segments while price combination is inhibiting price increase, pressure on costs in increasing and margins are falling. Heightened competition is inhibiting price increases and there is upward pressure on costs resulting in reduced margins.”
The report says that the UK fast-fit market is set to be the largest in Europe in 2001, accounting for 2.6 billion Euros and representing 30.5% of the overall value of the market in the leading seven European countries.
Germany and France recorded shares of 27.8% and 24% respectively. This means that the three largest markets represent 82.2% of the market while accounting for only 60.7% of the car parc.
Datamonitor predicts that the total fast fit and autocentre market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 3.3% between 2001 and 2005. Manufacturers are expected to become the dominant market force with the trend set to continue over the next five years.