The multi-million pound deal for 54 sites takes the Nationwide Autocentres network from 141 centres to 195 centres, reinforcing its position as the largest independent service network in the UK. It expects to service more than 10,000 vehicles a week.
The move is the latest stage of a business overhaul at Kwik-Fit since CVC Capital Partners became majority owner last year. The Stop 'n' Steer centres, which will be rebranded under the Nationwide name, generate annual revenue of about £12 million and will increase the expected group turnover at Nationwide in 2003 to more than £50 million.
Ten of the 54 centres are specially converted sites, shared with Kwik-Fit, which have been sub-divided to separate Nationwide's servicing and technical repair operation from Kwik-Fit's fast-fit offering.
The acquisition strengthens Nationwide's geographic coverage in the north west and west midlands, and will be an essential driver for Nationwide's growing fleet servicing business, which is expected to top a turnover of £10 million within the next two years.
Much of Nationwide's recent growth has come from the purchase of more than 100 Lex Autocentres over the past two years from RAC's motoring services division.
Nationwide Autocentres managing director, Tom Dunn, said: 'We have set high standards at all levels within the operation and these are paying dividends.
'This has enabled the rapid turn-around of the loss-making Lex Autocentres business which was acquired over the past two years, into the now soundly profitable and stable business that Nationwide is today. We expect the same high standards to be achieved very quickly from the new 54 outlets following their integration into Nationwide's operational system.
'This enlarged network of quality service centres is extremely well placed to take advantage of changes to block exemption which come into force in October.'