Dunn is already in early talks with a group north of the border, and has recruited Greg Dolan, a former right-hand man to Kwik-Fit and Farmer Autocare founder Sir Tom Farmer, to lead development. Dolan was responsible for much of Kwik-Fit’s growth in Scotland.
“We can’t be a truly national company if we’ve only got a handful of sites in Scotland,” says Dunn. “We’ll be looking for group acquisitions as well as owner-operated independent sites in key areas. We’ve set no limit on how many businesses we can operate there.”
Dunn says stronger geographical coverage is necessary if Nationwide is to provide national support to its large fleet and contract hire clients, as well as local consumers.
Dolan is based in Edinburgh and is responsible for Scotland’s eight Nationwide repair centres: Dumfries, Clydebank, two in Glasgow, Kirkintilloch, two in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
He believes Nationwide could provide a solution for some independents. “There is a great many very good independent garages in Scotland, and often when an owner operation wants to retire or wants a change of lifestyle, the opportunities for them to do so are very limited. We would be interested to hear from individuals in this position,” he says.
Last year Nationwide acquired 50 AA service centres when the chain was closed by owners CVC Capital Partners, taking its total UK network to 227 sites.
The company services and repairs more than 500,000 vehicles a year.