||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2013)|
|Founded||1971 (as National Breakdown Recovery Club)|
|Headquarters||Pudsey, Leeds, United Kingdom|
|Parent||Direct Line Group|
Green Flag is a roadside rescue company based in the UK. It was formed in 1971 as the National Breakdown Recovery Club and operated under this name under the ownership of National Car Parks until 1994, when it was renamed Green Flag as a symbolic brand name.
The company was purchased by Direct Line in 1999 after NCP was bought by Cinven. Direct Line was itself purchased by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), although RBS has since created a separate subsidiary for its insurance and motoring division, Direct Line Group, of which Green Flag is now part.
Green Flag was a major sponsor of the British Touring Car Championship between 2002 and 2004 and also sponsored the England national football team for the first time in 1994. The initial sponsorship deal was worth £4 million ($6.6 million) over a four-season period ending with the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Differences from other breakdown companies
Unlike the AA and RAC, Green Flag does not have its own fleet of vehicles or a staff of mechanics. Instead, the company maintains a network of locally-based mechanics. One of the advantages of this approach (according to the company) is that local companies have local knowledge and are able to respond to call outs faster as a result. Using this network also has an advantage to the repairs of the vehicle with 86% of call outs being mended at the roadside. Green Flag holds over 5 million members.
In early 2008 Green Flag reduced its contractor network by nearly 100. Green Flag tendered its work out to service providers taking several variables into consideration. These included price, location to area wanting to be covered, size and scale of business and number of sites. The contractors then bid against each other in order to hit a 'target price.' Green Flag has since described its contractor review as a success; however with 100 fewer agents working with them their claim of using local knowledge to assist members promptly has less validity than it did before the contractor review.
As of November 2011 Green Flag has now reduced its contractor network in England and Wales even further to just 5 'super contractors'.
They impose a limit on the age of vehicles that they will assist under personal cover, and will not attend where the vehicle is more than 16 years old. AA and RAC do not impose a vehicle age restriction on their personal cover.
Green Flag's average response time is 28 minutes, promoted as 30 minutes on their web site and press releases; this, therefore, puts them at the top of the average response time. This was calculated on 318,000 call outs they had between August 8 and March 9.
Green Flag's web site also contains a "route map" which has also been voted the most effective route map out of the 3 major breakdown companies.