Fast-fit chain Kwik Fit plans to take on franchised dealers directly with a new 'slow-fit' car repair service.
After a pilot at around eight of its largest sites, Kwik Fit has officially launched the first Kwik Fit Plus centre in Slough.
Kwik Fit, which has 600 sites around the UK, said the new Kwik Fit Plus brand is a major new investment for the company and focuses not only on speedy replacement work in its 'fast-fit' section but also extensive mechanical services in a 'slow fit' section with its own team of ATA accredited technicians and headed by a master technician.
AM understands it plans to market its Kwik Fit Plus repairs as priced up to a third cheaper than franchised dealers. Fleet vehicles are its main target.
At Slough, the Bath Road centre has been fully refurbished with the latest diagnostics and mechanical equipment. It was chosen as the location for the first Kwik Fit Plus because it is one of the company''s busiest centres in the UK and is ideally located to support the town''s many businesses.
Chris Southgate, director of new formats at Kwik Fit, said: "Slough has always been a strong focus for us. The staff at the centre do a fantastic job, and we are delighted to support an area which is such a thriving hub for business. We are thrilled to be launching the first Kwik Fit Plus centre here, and excited about the new direction the business is heading.
"This is an important day in the recent history of Kwik Fit, and we''re confident it will help us provide an even better service to our customers."
For the first time ever, Kwik Fit will be able to offer class seven MoTs for light commercial vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes. It is already the UK's largest MoT tester for cars.
This aims to provide local company owners with a one stop shop for both their personal and business vehicles.
The centres will also see aesthetic changes made. There is a more open-plan' appearance as Kwik Fit has developed a more relaxed and consumer-friendly environment. This includes revitalised reception areas fully equipped with wifi, computer screens and the largest television screen available, supplied by Sony.
Kwik Fit, under its global parent Itochu Corporation, has put aside a significant budget to develop its Kwik Fit Plus centres and expects Slough to be the first of many throughout the UK over the coming years as the company invests in supporting its customers with even more services.
The next phase is a roll-out to a further 20 locations, AM understands.
This expansion will see more jobs created as well as a significant increase in opportunities in the its apprenticeship scheme.