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NUI boost for Ford ARCs

The number of Ford vehicles directed by Norwich Union Insurance to the carmaker’s network of 160 authorised repair centres is set to double over the next year.

The insurer has signed a deal which will see it encourage hundreds of thousands of its Ford policyholders to submit their vehicle to a Ford Accident Repair Centre (ARC) for damage repair using only original equipment (OE) parts. Ford says this will double its network’s current annual volume to 10,000 repairs.

The move, barely months after NUI announched a commitment to use OE parts for BMW repairs, marks a further step away from its Unity Programme of using non-OE parts. Other deals are not ruled out.

As the UK’s largest insurer, NUI also contributes to Thatcham’s research into non-OE replacement parts.

David Cresswell, chairman of the ABP Club, believes some independent bodyshops will see a fall in volumes if they previously took work from NUI. Non-OE parts suppliers also face a significant loss of sales as a result of the agreement.

Ford says it will work with NUI to enable its repairers to authorise work themselves in order to reduce the time a vehicle is off the road. It believes the deal will deliver improved customer satisfaction and security in knowing a vehicle is repaired exactly to standards and methods set down by the manufacturer.

“This partnership will enable us to achieve higher levels of satisfaction for our customers and we look forward to working with Norwich Union to ensure successful implementation,” says John Cooper, director of Ford’s customer service division.

Guaranteeing large volumes of work will enable NUI to negotiate a rebate on the cost of Ford parts supplied to its repairers. Simon Machell, NUI’s customer service director, says the deal represents “a further significant step forward” in the insurer’s parts supply strategy.”

Ford Insure, its own insurance brand, has been underwritten by NUI since 1998.

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