Nationwide Autocentres, the Birmingham-based independent service and repair business, is acquiring 50 of the service centres - employing 400 staff - in the latest phase of its expansion strategy. The remaining 72 outlets will close subject to consultation.
The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will be completed “within weeks” and will take the network to 227 centres.
Tim Parker, the AA’s chief executive, says: "We believe this will provide a better service to our members and customers. Currently, with our 122 service centres, we are unable to provide a comprehensive service across the UK. Through this new partnership, more of our members will have closer access to nearly double the number of sites and a service that is audited to AA standards.
"The AA centres have not been profitable and we believe that the arrangement we are proposing is the best long-term solution for our members and customers."
"This is an exceptionally good deal for both companies," says Mationwide Autocentres managing director Tom Dunn. "Nationwide is now on the doorstep of the majority of motorists right across the UK – it’s another key business relationship for us and at the same time protects the jobs at the centres we are acquiring."
Nationwide will also become the AA-approved service provider.
At the same time, the AA has announced that it intends to close AA Tyre Fit, which currently provides national coverage of mobile tyre fitting through a fleet of 130 vehicles; and its vehicle inspections business, currently offering inspections on used cars for consumers. Both businesses are operating at a loss.
Nationwide Autocentres was formed in January 2001 by the management buy-in team. It has turned around under-performing Lex Autocentre outlets spread across the UK from Glasgow to the Isle of Wight. Last year it acquired Stop ‘n’ Steer and performed a similar recovery. The business will turnover more than £54m this year - the 50 AA Service Centres will add another £20m.