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Carmakers 'to control fast-fit'

Carmakers will begin dominating the £1.6bn UK fast-fit sector as they encourage dealers to target aftersales profits, according to business information provider Datamonitor.

Its report, Fast-fit and autocentres 2001, says the balance of power is shifting away from the independent firms as more carmakers develop branded fast-fit schemes. Vauxhall MasterFit, with more than 200 outlets, and Ford Rapid Fit (300 outlets), which set up networks in the early nineties, have been joined by Peugeot Express Fit, Renault Minute, Toyota Autobase and Fiat Autoclinic.

Datamonitor believes the UK fast-fit market has reached a mature state, with “stagnation” in tyre retailing.

Companies are being forced to focus on profitability rather than growth.

However, it believes fast-fit firms could expand further by targeting non-tyre segments such as brakes.

Uncertainty in the aftermarket, caused by price deflation and longer lasting components, is threatening profits and “pose the greatest problems” for independent fast-fit companies. Datamonitor believes manufacturer-branded schemes and companies like Kwik-Fit, which is owned by Ford, have the greatest opportunities to expand.

“The bigger volume players and those that have parent companies with deep pockets appear stable and are heading for success,” it says.

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