Currently, Vauxhall retailers retain more than a third of the lucrative four-year plus service market. With in excess of four million Vauxhall-badged cars on UK roads, the manufacturer is confident there is sufficient service and repair work to satisfy independent and franchised dealers.
And the network growth will provide fleet drivers with more choice when it comes to servicing as well as centres closer to their businesses, helping to reduce vehicle downtime.
“Make no mistake – this is not just a case of stick up a sign and you're in,” warns Pat Doughty, Vauxhall customer care director. “Vauxhall and those dealers that already operate MasterFit centres have invested too much in the brand to see it diluted.”
There are currently 250 MasterFit sites across the UK but Vauxhall is aiming to attract more than 400 garages to the network by the end of 2004 (AM, February 10, 2004).
To become a MasterFit centre, garages must pass a tough self-assessment test. The answers to this generate an action plan for workshops to apply for MasterFit status. So far, 395 dealers have completed the test and another 85 are working through the implementation phase.
Doughty adds: “If we identify any gaps in our MasterFit network, we will actively seek out new partners with the potential to become MasterFit centres.”
In return, centres get access to a wide range of marketing and advertising material, including financial support, as well as their own marketing regional account manager. Vauxhall will also help fund corporate identity requirements like external signage and pay for directory advertising.
“For the highest performing centres, there is around £25,000 worth of support available on top of what we do centrally,” says Doughty.
By the end of this year, 4,000 MasterFit technicians, reception staff and managers will have undergone special training.