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Vauxhall gearing up for fast-fit growth

Vauxhall is launching a major bid to almost double the size of its fast-fit operation, making it second in size to aftermarket giant Kwik-Fit.

The UK's second largest carmaker is planning to increase the MasterFit service network from 250 to 400 centres during the next six months.

The news comes after major revisions to sales and servicing regulations were implemented last October. Now Vauxhall wants to take advantage of changes to block exemption regulations that have blown the aftermarket wide open.

So far, the carmaker has received more than 375 applications from garages to become fast-fit centres. And Nigel Griggs, Vauxhall's aftersales marketing manager, believes the potential benefits for repairers are huge.

“There are more than two million Vauxhall cars and vans aged between four and 10 years old on the road that can provide MasterFit Centres with an enormously profitable market,” says Griggs.

Increasing the network will help Vauxhall bolster its share of the one to three-year-old vehicle parc. It will also help franchised dealers regain lost customers in the lucrative four-year-old service market. Currently, franchised garages retain about a third of this sector. New centres will be required to update their corporate identity with new interior and exterior signage.

The carmaker is encouraging independent garages to apply but the majority of growth will come from the 470-strong dealer network.

To help grow the business, Vauxhall has strengthened its aftersales team with the appointment of two new product development managers. Alexander Shields and Clifford Walpole are based at the vehicle manufacturer's head office in Luton and will support the aftermarket product development team.

Several sales initiatives will support the plan to grow MasterFit, including a vehicle repair insurance scheme that aims to keep customers for longer and boost revenues from new car sales.

ServiceLink allows drivers to insure vehicles against unexpected damage between scheduled services. The cover lasts for 12 months or 10,000 miles. It applies to cars younger than eight years old but excludes Fronteras, Montereys and light commercial vehicles.

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