Fleet News

Fast-fit balance of power moves to car makers

A SPATE of consolidation activity in the fast-growing European fast-fit market is shifting the balance of power towards car makers and changing the shape of service for fleets. Prior to a wave of consolidation in 1999, vehicle manufacturers controlled less than one fifth of fast-fit outlets in Europe.

Now they have almost than one third, with the greatest effect from the purchase of Kwik-Fit by Ford - and the shift in power is likely to continue. The continuing changes will have a fundamental impact on the shape of the market and affect manufacturers' own aftermarket operations. Fast-fit is big business and it is growing fast, with a value of £5.67 billion now which will rise to £7.2 billion in four years.

The UK accounts for 28% of market value, but its European neighbours are catching up fast in the value of their market, with Germany worth 26.3% and France worth 23.1%. Datamonitor, which assesses the market in a new report, European Fast Fit and Autocentres, claims the shift in power towards vehicle manufacturers will undoubtedly increase, with Mercedes-Benz showing interest in the aftermarket and Volkswagen starting from scratch with a new Stop & Go fast-fit business and Fiat acquiring the Midas chain.

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