Kwik Fit has launched the first of its Plus centres in South East England, offering a broader range of services aimed at rivalling franchised dealers and increasing its footprint in the fleet industry.
The launch follows an 18-month trial carried out at eight stores located between Edinburgh and Exeter, where staff were split into slow fit and fast fit teams, each managed by a separate supervisor. So far, the company has opened 17 Kwik Fit Plus sites, beginning with the flagship centre in Slough.
While Phase 2 will begin in the South East, Kwik Fit said it plans to roll out further stores nationwide depending on demand at its first centres, but has yet to decide how many of its 600 locations will be upgraded to Plus standard.
Plus centres will also be home to the company’s newest equipment, with Slough trialling a system which offers five-minute alignment, braking and tyre checks that can e-mail results to customers in an easy-to-understand format if they aren’t present.
Kwik Fit fleet director Peter Lambert said: ‘Our vision is to provide customers – and specifically fleets – with a high-quality service that represents excellent value for money.
‘We recognised that we were only scratching the surface in terms of penetrating the fleet servicing market. We also recognised that there were limitations in some centres in terms of the mechanical work being delivered and that we needed to further improve delivery consistency across the network.’
The company, which was acquired by Japanese firm Itochu Corporation two years ago, is already investing in extensive modernisation of its network. Kwik Fit Premier sites, which are being rolled out at a rate of around 100-150 per year, will be nationwide in around four years offering a similar franchised dealer-esque environment for traditional MoT, fast fit and servicing operations.
Workshop standards have been dramatically raised in line with franchised dealer equivalents, and customers are offered a glazed waiting area with work stations, wifi and flat-screen televisions, plus screens allowing them to watch their car being worked on.
Premier centres also feature specialist equipment to service and MoT Class 7 vans, as well as a larger stock of tyres to suit LCVs, both sign of further investment in meeting the needs of fleet customers. So far around 68 have been converted to Premier standard, with a further 20 conversions in progress.
Lambert added: ‘Kwik Fit is already the largest provider of fast-fit and related services to the UK company car market and we anticipate that the investment that we have made and will continue to make in centres, staff and equipment to cater for the LCV market will further increase our share of the corporate sector.’