Fleet News

ATS expansion boosts fast-fit fleet sector role

ATS Euromaster is spending £6 million this year introducing new services and modernising its fast-fit centres in a move that has been welcomed by leasing industry figures.

Its plans follows £4m spent on service and network enhancements in 2010 and marks a record period of investment by the company.

It means that it can now offer an extensive range of fast-fit support at 200 centres, aided by the launch of new services including nitrogen tyre inflation, air-conditioning recharging and regassing, plus computerised wheel alignment.

According to Roddy Graham, commercial director of Leasedrive and chairman of the ICFM, the expansion will fit in with leasing industry expectations to increase the amount of SMR work carried out at independent at fast-fit outlets.

He told Fleet News: “Currently 30% of Leasedrive’s SMR work is undertaken by independents and we can only see that figure growing for mainstream cars providing we continue to receive consistency and excellence of service, and there are significant cost savings to be made. However, luxury and premium makes will continue to be serviced by the franchise dealer network to protect residual values.”

ATS Euromaster’s plans come in the wake of Halfords dramatically expanding its ambitions for car servicing after finding that the number of potential sites for the business was 50% higher than first thought.

The roll-out of Bosch KTS200 diagnostics systems has also continued, enabling technicians to carry out complex ECU fault diagnostics, read error codes and service electronic braking systems on the majority of vehicles – encompassing 55 manufacturers.

ATS Euromaster has also introduced vehicle maintenance servicing this year, with 60 centres now offering a range of scheduled services for most makes of car and van – and more locations planned in the coming months.

Additional MOT facilities are being added too, with the total number of MOT sites expected to reach 120 by the end of 2011 – an increase of 36% over a two-year period.

“The current economic climate has seen a strong trend for privately-owned business fleets and leasing companies to look at cost-effective alternatives to main dealers, and we are meeting this demand head-on,” said Chris Hufflett, group operations director of ATS Euromaster.

“The fact that we have seen a 20% growth in key accounts taking advantage of our SMR capabilities over the past year alone is clear testament to our value for money proposition.

“Not only this, but we are also winning new business as a result of our SMR skills and hope to be in a position to make further announcements shortly.”

He added: “Expanding our technical capabilities, particularly in the SMR market, is a key part of our business strategy.”

Hufflet said: “While we share ambitious plans for car servicing, our own business model and mix of business means that some of our centres are more geared to supporting commercial vehicles and would therefore be unsuitable for such an offer.

“However, we intend to aggressively grow our presence in the car servicing sector, where suitable sites exist, and forecast our own market share in this area to triple over the next three years.”

ATS Euromaster is also making significant investments in enhancing the look and feel of its centres, with 120 sites to have benefited from a refurbishment programme by the end of 2011.

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