Manufacturers have realised they must take on fast-fit centres to win back the older vehicle parc business. Sales of original equipment parts are a major profit opportunity for carmakers – an opportunity that needs to be protected as block exemption revision promises to blow the automotive market apart.
The news comes just weeks after Mercedes-Benz announced its own fast-fit operation called Express Service. And it follows the launch of similar operations like Ford Rapid Fit, Peugeot Express Fit, Renault Minute and Vauxhall Master Fit.
Not all 258 dealers in the franchise network will become Express Fit centres and there are no plans yet to take independents on board, although the manufacturer is not ruling out such a move in the future. The level of investment will vary from dealer to dealer depending on size and retailers could have the chance to become centres by creating a separate workshop bay with Express Fit branding.
In Europe, Volkswagen has a similar operation called Express Service that targets customers with three-year-old cars. Express Fit will home in on drivers that have out of warranty Volkswagens and specifically take on independent fast-fit chains.
By increasing aftersales traffic, VW also hopes to boost the number of drivers going through the showroom, helping dealers to increase profit and volume.
Duncan Sands, head of customer services, is responsible for the in-house operation.