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200th AutoService centre signed by XPart

XPart, the MG Rover specialist, has signed its 200th AutoService centre and wants the network to grow by a further 50 in the UK by the end of the year.

The company has more than 100 centres in mainland Europe, where the target is 300 sites.

Charles Binns, sales and marketing director, says: “We have businesses competing for the franchise in some parts of the UK including Coventry, south Oxfordshire and Cumbria.

“The MG Rover UK parc of around two million vehicles is the foundation for the business. In time, the volume of that trade will decline but our centres service all makes.”

Binns believes the rate of growth reflects the popularity of the AutoCentre concept with garages and motorists alike. “We offer factory-quality parts with labour rates lower than those of many franchised dealers,” he says.

XPart, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Logistics Services UK, has been responsible for the supply of all MG Rover parts since 2001. They are distributed in the UK through 83 wholesalers, nine fewer than before the manufacturer collapsed last April.

Caterpillar has an operation in China, and Binns says informal talks continue as Nanjing Automobile, which bought the remains of MG Rover, prepares to resume production.

The XPart AutoCentre concept was set up as an MG Rover service marketing programme and gained a new significance with the disappearance of the manufacturer.

Binns says many former MG Rover dealers have joined the network with the advantage of being equipped with the necessary tools.

“We also have independents attracted by the low start-up costs, which are less than £4,000 if you need the tools, including the signage,” he says.

XPart says it distributes more than 27,000 parts and accessories, and these cover 95% of cars run in the UK. It holds a £40m stock inventory and is committed to supplying MG Rover parts until at least 2016.

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