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AA front-runner to buy web-based tyre operation

Tyreserve uses the internet to link tyre retailers through a dedicated website. It was launched in April 2001 with £2m worth of backing from Stapleton's.

Coventry-base Tyreserve is headed by David Goodyear, a former Kwik-Fit Fleet national accounts director. He maintains Tyreserve's technology and fixed-cost pricing strategy provides fleet executives with a high level of service and saves fleets money.

Earlier this year, Tyreserve reported franchised dealers had increased their tyre sales threefold after signing up to the service. It has arrangements with seven manufacturers including major fleet players Peugeot, Volkswagen and MG Rover. More than 1400 dealers have joined Tyreserve, which has a network of 600 independent tyre centres and 300 mobile fitting units.

AA Business Services already operates a mobile tyre fitting network and in December, the AA launched an internet car sales division in a joint venture with Inchcape, the world's largest automotive services group. Part of the £4m scheme is AA branding on new and used cars.

The AA has a 70 per cent share of the venture, which offers finance and a range of motoring-related products and services. In August, the AA completed the acquisition of Halford's for £5.75m, which it renamed AA Service Centres. No one from either AA Business Services or Tyreserve was available for comment.

By offering a wide range of services to garages and drivers, the AA is using a popular tactic in this sector. Rival RAC last year acquired Chesterfield-based Auto Wind-screens' 161 specialist fitting centres and 800 mobile units for £112m. That move helped the RAC, which is backed by Lex Service, expand to include windscreen and body glass replacement. It also increased the size of the RAC group fleet to 2100 vehicles.

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