Activate Group Ltd (AGL) has launched a new body shop division called Activate Accident Repair that will see it invest £3 million in five centres over the next 12 months.
AGL, founded in 2015, specialises in accident management services and partners with fleet providers and insurers to service 80,000+ claims a year.
The new body shop division is part of ambitious growth plans to meet demand for high-quality repair centres in historically underserved urban areas.
The first site will open in Birmingham in August 2019 with recruitment for 40 technicians and support roles currently underway. Additional sites will follow in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow, creating a total of 200 jobs over the next 12 months.
AGL CEO, Hannah Wilcox, said: “We’re really excited about this next phase of growth. It’s a major investment and one that will enable us to meet the needs of our clients and their customers with fast, high-quality repairs in key urban areas.
“We’re also investing in people, not only with the creation of 200 jobs, but with the introduction of an apprentice programme next year that will see us develop fresh talent and equip people with the skills needed to excel in the industry.”
She continued: “In addition, we’re putting technology at the heart of the new division by integrating its systems with our other businesses, to generate real-time reporting that enhances the overall customer journey.”
Activate Accident Repair joins the Motor Repair Network, Sopp+Sopp and Sopp Parts in the AGL group of companies. Once operational, Activate Accident Repair will co-exist with AGLs existing network of third-party suppliers.
Wilcox explained: “The relationship we have with our network of 200 body shops will not be affected by the creation of our own five site body shop division.
“AGL will grow significantly this year, with the number of claims we handle by the end of 2019 projected to increase by around 50%. This means there is more than enough work for our third-party network and our own body shops too.”
The centres will be equipped with the latest technology, including the ability to repair structural composite materials, all safety features, EVs and HEVs. In addition, the sites will have a fast-track repair lane for non-structural repairs to reduce key-to-key times on smaller jobs.
Birmingham will be the largest centre at 18,000ft2 with capacity to repair up to 16 vehicles a day. The other sites will be 15,000ft2 and will average around 12 vehicles a day. Volume is anticipated to hit 16,000+ repairs per annum once all five sites are up and running.
AGL has appointed Shane Maybank to head up its new division in the role of managing director. He brings 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry, including running body shops for large insurers. He said: “Our clients trust us with their customers, so we’re committed to delivering the highest standards in accreditation, customer experience and technology-led reporting.
“This means all our work is PAS 125 accredited, we operate a fleet of automatic and manual courtesy cars and link our body shop systems to Sopp+Sopp and the motor repair network to give our clients real-time updates as vehicles progress through the repair journey.”