Kwik-Fit Establishes Russian Tyre Retail Franchise Partnership

On 10 February Kwik-Fit Group announced that is has entered into a Frachise agreement with the ROLF Group, one of Russia’s leading automotive businesses. According to the company, the Russian centres will be established under a new brand – ‘White Service’ – for which Kwik-Fit has established a dedicated support team. As well as providing on the support “on the ground” in Russia, Kwik-Fit is inviting White Service managers to visit the UK to shadow their UK counterparts and share expertise. Prior to this deal Kwik-Fit gained similar experience with over 200 existing franchise outlets across eight countries.

Paul House, Kwik-Fit Group trading director, believes the timing of the agreement is ideal: “The make up of the Russian car parc has been shifting in recent years with manufacturers from western Europe and the Far East growing their market share. There is a now a significant number of vehicles coming to the end of their manufacturer warranty period, leading to a demand from consumers for a quality, independent, service offering.

“The White Service centres will offer a similar portfolio of products and services to both our UK Kwik-Fit centres and our other international franchise operations. We can therefore bring experience of a range of markets to this new operation and help ROLF meet the needs of the Russian motorist.”

Russian operation aiming for 500 outlets within 5 years

Dmitry Soldatkin, director of “We Love Parts” LLC – ROLF Group of Companies, says: “The ROLF Group has significant plans for this venture – we believe that we can open 100 centres by the end of 2010, and aim to grow to a chain of 500 outlets within five years. These are ambitious targets, but we believe that our experience and existing network make them achievable. We have considered partners from across the globe to join us in this new venture, and believe that Kwik-Fit will provide us with the strongest level of support and expertise.”

The majority of the first phase of openings will be located in the west of Russia, though the chain aims to have a presence throughout the entire country within five years at most.

According to an official statement detailing the news, Kwik-Fit representatives pointed out that in comparison with the UK, a larger proportion of Russian motorists choose premium tyres, and the climate drives demand for both winter and summer tyres, as in other northern European countries.
White Service centres will initially follow a model similar to Kwik-Fit, with tyres, brakes and fixed price servicing being the main customer offering. Kwik-Fit Group franchises currently operate in Algeria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Morocco, Netherlands, Senegal and Turkey.

The Kwik-Fit Group is said to be the largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialist in Europe and one of the largest in the world. With 1,800 service outlets across Europe it employs 9,000 people. Kwik-Fit has national UK coverage of 595 service centres and more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles, making it the UK’s leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MoT specialist. The Group, established in 1971, is owned by PAI Partners. The pan European private equity firm completed its acquisition of the Group in August 2005.

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