DEARBORN, Mich. (Jan. 16, 2002)—Ford Motor Co. has hired investment bankers Goldman Sachs to help it divest its Kwik-Fit tire and automotive service business in Europe, along with two U.S.-based repair and recycling businesses.
Ford bought Kwik-Fit, now a chain of more than 2,500 service centers throughout the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Poland, in 1999 for $1.6 billion.
At that time, Ford planned to make Kwik-Fit the cornerstone of a plan to expand its aftermarket automotive products and services business. In January 2001, Kwik-Fit founder Tom Farmer—who stayed on with Ford to manage the business—said the goal was to double the size of the business to 5,000 outlets by 2005.
Now, Ford—in the midst of a revitalization plan that it expects will boost its bottom line by $3 billion—no longer considers Kwik-Fit a core business, although Nick Scheele, Ford's president and chief operating officer, called Kwik-Fit a “good company with a strong future.” Ford said it expects to realize $1 billion in proceeds from the sale of non-core assets, including Kwik-Fit.
In addition, Kwik-Fit operates stores under various other names, including Pit-Stop name in Germany and Speedy in France, Spain and Switzerland. Mr. Farmer founded Kwik-Fit in 1971 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The other businesses for sale are: Collision Team of America, a chain of 32 collision repair centers; and GreenLeaf L.L.C., a chain of 31 automotive recycling centers.