AM Online

Nationwide Accident Repair pilot aftermarket scheme

Bodyshop group Nationwide Accident Repair Services will pilot general aftermarket services at a new centre in Kettering.

Retail up-selling, which NARS started to push last year, will take over front-of-house at the new site, with its bodyshop at the back. 

It will offer a selection of services, including MOTs, exhausts and tyres. Initially these will be provided to existing crash repair customers. It is likely to attract additional trade in the long term.

If successful, the model may be added to other Nationwide centres depending on the individual business case.

Across its network of 73 crash repair centres, retail up-selling has been progressing well, said David Loftus, NARS finance director.

“It satisfies the customer and gives them a better experience,” said Loftus. “We can offer services such as MOTs without them having to book the car into another place.”

The group already offers mobile vehicle repair and glass replacement services to its insurer and fleet customers through its network services division.

New acquisitions

NARS has this year acquired five new bodyshops in Bristol, Gravesend, Scunthorpe, Redruth and Kettering. It hopes to add “a couple more” sites by the end of the year.

Loftus said it was about identifying work in an area and controlling workflow rather than buying up sites for the sake of it.

NARS has also secured new business from Zenith and has increased its repair volume with existing insurance partners Norwich Union, AXA and Zurich.

The company has yet to embrace the crash repair industry Kitemark, despite accreditation being increasingly mandated by major motor insurers, including Norwich Union and AXA. 

Loftus declined to comment on when Nationwide would introduce the standard at its sites, but said: “We’re not saying we’re not going to do it, but we’re not saying we’re totally committed to it either.”

Half year results showed NARS’s revenue up 16% from £75.9 million in 2007 to £88.3 million in 2007. Pre-tax profits were up to £3.9 million up from £3.4 million.

Operating profit increased 15% to £3.8 million.

NARS chairman Michael Marx said: “Our twin track approach of expanding the business both organically and by acquisition continues to deliver results.

“There remains further scope to increase efficiency within in our existing business.”

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