RAC and Autofirst have joined forces to create what the two businesses claim will be the “biggest independent garage network in the UK".
Formed from existing RAC Approved Garages and Autofirst Network members, along with new sign ups, the newly created ‘RAC Approved Garages powered by Autofirst Network’ already has 500 garages on board and is expected to exceed 650 by April this year.
Euro Car Parts’ chief executive, Andy Hamilton, said: “We already had an extremely strong relationship with the RAC from years of supplying its patrols with parts, so it was a natural next step to work together in the independent garage network space.
“We believe the brands are an excellent fit and have the potential to become a first choice for consumers wanting the trust of big brands but with local service and convenience.”
As part of the network, each garage will be jointly branded, carrying the prominent RAC and Autofirst Network branding.
By subscribing, garages will also be offered repair work via the RAC Warranty scheme, as well as repairs referred to them by RAC patrols from breakdowns through the company’s Accredited Repairer scheme.
Garages can also access a suite of products including its garage management system, technical training, technical hotline, technician recruitment and support from a dedicated account manager.
They will be further supported by a listing on the WhoCanFixMyCar.com website, opening even more opportunities for repair work through its national database.
To join, garages will need to offer servicing and repairs and employ qualified professional technicians.
They must also be prepared to adhere to the RAC Customer Charter and Code of Conduct approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and agree to a yearly inspection to ensure they meet the agreed standards.
RAC’s chief executive Dave Hobday said: “We know from market research that customers really value the friendly, local and reliable service provided by independent garages and have a very high level of trust in the RAC so this is the perfect recipe for garages looking to stand out from the crowd in a busy marketplace.”
Pictured (L): RAC chief executive Dave Hobday and Euro Car Parts chief executive Andy Hamilton