Fleet News

Insight: High-profile acquisitions give AA Drivetech and IAM market-leading positions

Two deals have consolidated the positions of AA Drivetech and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) as two of the largest operators within the driver training sector.

At the start of the month, AA Drivetech completed its acquisition of Peak Performance; shortly afterwards, IAM revealed that it had bought Professional Driver Services (PDS).

Both organisations maintain that these acquisitions of smaller competitors have been made to increase their existing market share, bolster their expertise and ensure they can continue to provide new and future customers with the best service.

But what impact will these acquisitions have on the wider driver training market?

Both AA Drivetech and IAM assert that the deals will ultimately provide the industry with “better value” and “greater choice” because the acquisitions give them greater “economies of scale” which enable them to continue providing cost-effective services and eventually an increased range of services.

Jim Kirkwood, managing director of AA Drive-tech, said: “Peak Performance has an existing training relationship with Cranfield University and the acquisition has given us access to that – in other words, they had access to some expertise that we didn’t have.

“Peak Performance has a similar offering to what we provide in terms of corporate risk assessments, driver risk assessments and a variety of online, workshop and on-road training among much more.

“But while AA DriveTech has historically had strong connections in southern Britain, Peak Performance is strong in the north. Consequently, this deal consolidates our position as the market leader in terms of our nationwide coverage and the quality of our trainers.”

The two companies began discussions after both realised the “time was right” and the deal was in their mutual interests.

Peak Performance – which employs 12 full-time employees in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and many more self-employed trainers – will continue to trade as a separate legal entity and trading operation within the AA DriveTech business which employs around 150 staff.

Kirkwood said: “Our intention is to help Peak Performance grow and we do not anticipate that there will be any job losses. Indeed, we are actively looking at new services for the future which includes focusing more on both older and younger drivers. There continues to be huge opportunities around road safety.”

Road safety charity IAM also intends to increase its range of services to fleet managers following its purchase of PDS.

PDS will continue to operate from its offices in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, delivering driver training courses and administration services as well as training for the commercial sector.

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