Speaking at the company’s Leicestershire headquarters, chairman John Parkinson told AM his plans for long term availability of MG Rover parts, as well as details of the expansion of its All-Makes programme and AutoService centres.
MGR’s 3m global vehicle parc gives XPart confidence in the economic viability of parts supply. “It’s important to stress we still have a profitable business, to which we are committed to the long term,” says Parkinson. “We have a solid base upon which we can build and use for future plans.”
He recognizes that many ex-MG Rover dealers are facing significant liquidity problems, de-stocking and reducing their parts infrastructure.
“The impact on our business has also been significant,” says Parkinson. “It means we’ve had to restructure and it’s also resulted in us introducing a redundancy programme, which is not something we’ve done lightly.”
Xpart has gained access to key inventory and tooling from Longbridge. It has purchased more than £3m in engine and transmission parts from Powertrain, and XPart stocks in excess of £40m of parts in its 630,000 sq ft warehouse at the headquarters in Desford.
Despite these stock levels, AM has been contacted by several bodyshops reporting a shortage of key MG Rover body panels. Parkinson admits there has been a problem, but insists the backlog will be cleared in two to three weeks.
#AM_ART_SPLIT# Forward thinking creates repeat business
XPart is pitching its AutoService Centre soft franchise as an opportunity for former MG Rover dealers.
To date, 115 UK-based ex-MGR dealers have signed up to gain branding, standard pricing systems, diagnostic and parts information, along with technical support. XPart is confident of signing 150 in total – more than half of the original MGR network.
One is Slough-based dealer group SMC. It has added AutoService franchises to five of its 12 dealerships, including three MGR outlets. Brian Millin, group general manager, says: “We are able to offer a wide range of services, which has allowed us to minimize the impact of MG Rover’s closure on our business.
“Now, for example, every car that comes in has a ‘health check’, regardless of what it has come in for. We can alert customers to repairs that might be, say, three months away. This way they are able to budget for the repair when it comes.”
Next month’s official launch of the AutoService Centre concept will be backed by focused advertising activity and a customer website launch. The concept will also help MGR repairers convert to multi-brand service and repair, through access to XPart’s All-Makes parts programme, which covers 95% of the UK vehicle parc.