Activate Group (AGL) has announced the creation of a new body shop division called Activate Accident Repair that will see it invest £3m in five centres over the next 12 months - creating 240 jobs.
The new body shop division is part of ambitious growth plans to meet demand for high-quality repair centres in historically underserved urban areas.
AGL’s chief executive, Hannah Wilcox, said: “We’re really excited about this next phase of growth. It’s a major investment and one that will enable us to meet the needs of our clients and their customers with fast, high-quality repairs in key urban areas.”
The first site will open in Birmingham in August 2019, and will be the largest centre at 18,000 square foot and capacity to repair 16 vehicles per day.
Recruitment for 40 technicians and support roles is currently underway.
Additional sites will follow in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow. They will each be 15,000 square foot and will average around 12 vehicles per day. The subsequent sites will create 200 jobs over the next 12 months.
Volume is anticipated to reach over 16,000 repairs per annum once all five sites are up and running.
AGL Activate Accident Repair’s managing director, Shane Maybank (pictured), said: “Our clients trust us with their customers, so we’re committed to delivering the highest standards in accreditation, customer experience and technology-led reporting.
“This means all our work is PAS 125 accredited, we operate a fleet of automatic and manual courtesy cars and link our body shop systems to Sopp+Sopp and the Motor Repair Network to give our clients real-time updates as vehicles progress through the repair journey.”
“We’re also investing in people, not only with the creation of 200 jobs, but with the introduction of an apprentice programme next year that will see us develop fresh talent and equip people with the skills needed to excel in the industry,” said Maybank.
“In addition, we’re putting technology at the heart of the new division by integrating its systems with our other businesses, to generate real-time reporting that enhances the overall customer journey.”
Activate Accident Repair joins the Motor Repair Network, Sopp+Sopp and Sopp Parts in the AGL group of companies.
Once operational, Activate Accident Repair will co-exist with AGLs existing network of third-party suppliers.
Wilcox said: “The relationship we have with our network of 200 body shops will not be affected by the creation of our own five site body shop division. AGL will grow significantly this year, with the number of claims we handle by the end of 2019 projected to increase by around 50%.
"This means there is more than enough work for our third-party network and our own body shops too.”
The centres will be equipped with the latest technology, including the ability to repair structural composite materials, all safety features, EVs and HEVs. In addition, the sites will have a fast-track repair lane for non-structural repairs to reduce key-to-key times on smaller jobs.