Green Flag

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For other uses, see Green Flag (disambiguation).
Green Flag
Industry Automotive services
Founded 1971 (as National Breakdown Recovery Club)
Headquarters Pudsey, Leeds, United Kingdom
Key people Mike Bowman (Director)
Services Breakdown assistance
Parent Direct Line Group
Website www.greenflag.com

Green Flag is a British breakdown cover and vehicle recovery provider based in Pudsey, near Leeds. Formed in 1971 (as the National Breakdown Recovery Club) as an alternative to the AA and RAC, using a network of local garages and mechanics to deliver recovery and repair services instead of patrolling mechanics. The company is part of the Direct Line Group.

History[edit]

Green Flag started as an idea between two friends - Bob Slicer and Jeffery Pittock[1] - in a pub in Bradford. Slicer owned a fish and chip shop in Buttershaw,[2] so that's where the business began as the National Breakdown Recovery Club.[3]

Back then, the AA and RAC were well-established, and offered assistance at the roadside. But the NBRC promised something different – a network of garages and mechanics that would recover and fix member's cars. The mechanics' local knowledge was meant to provide a swifter response to calls than the established competition.[3]

When the service began as a three man business (with Ernest Smith[1]) in 1971, membership only covered breakdowns within a 50-mile radius of their Morley Street[2] base in Bradford, and cost £1.50 a year.[3]

Within three years, NBRC had become the UK's largest breakdown recovery firm with over 100,000 members.[2]

In 1984 NBRC was acquired by NCP[2] and five years later moved to new purpose-built headquarters in Pudsey, which were opened by Diana, Princess of Wales.[4]

The company was renamed Green Flag in 1994. The company, now being run by Ernest Smith as Chief Executive, was looking to expand into other insurance services. "Green is the symbol of health in Europe," Smith told The Independent at the time.[5]

NCP was bought out by US investment firm Cendant who put Green Flag up for sale in May 1999. Later that year, Green Flag became part of the RBS Group when it was acquired by Direct Line for £220m.[5]

2008 saw Green Flag announce that it would be branding 400 vans across its network to match its marketing.[6]

In 2010, mascot Maximili'ant was introduced to Green Flag's marketing.[7] An ant was chosen as the company claims "they're hard working, strong and work well in a team - qualities reflected in the Green Flag network."[8] The character was brought to life by the voice of Harry Hill in TV and radio advertising until 2012.

In 2011 Green Flag reviewed its network of contractors, reducing the number of partner firms from 283 to 173, with a number of firms reacting angrily to the decision.[9] Now, five firms represent the majority of Green Flag's network.[10]

RBS' insurance division was floated in October 2012 as Direct Line Group. The new company had declared itself a separate entity the previous month.[11] The RBS holding in Green Flag's parent is now just 28.5%.[12]

Services[edit]

Green Flag offer a range of breakdown products, from basic roadside assistance to full European cover with recovery, covering cars, motorbikes, trailers and small vans.[13]

The company claim a response time of 42 minutes[14] and that they have over 4m customers.[15]

Green Flag's services are also available through partners including Direct Line, Churchill, Sainsbury's Bank, Esure, RBS and NatWest. They also operate a specialist breakdown service for caravan and motorhome owners[16] on behalf of the Caravan Club.

Like the rest of the Direct Line Group, Green Flag's products are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.

Awards[edit]

Green Flag are multiple Your Money award winners. They were named Best Breakdown Cover Provider in 2004,[17] 2005,[18] 2006,[19] 2007,[20] 2008,[21] 2009,[22] 2010[23] and 2013.[24] They were also Best Online Breakdown Cover provider in 2004,[17] 2005,[18] 2006[19] and 2007.[20]

The Institute of Transport Management recognised Green Flag as the Roadside Assistance Company of the year in 2012.[25]

Green Flag did not fare well in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power survey, scoring 81.02%, ranking it ninth in their list of best breakdown cover providers.[26]

Sporting sponsorships[edit]

In 1994 Green Flag became the first brand to sponsor the England football team.[27] The deal ran from 1994 to the World Cup in 1998 and is believed to have cost the firm £4m.[28]

Between 2000 and 2002, the company were the main title sponsor British Formula 3 Championship[29] and then, between 2002 and 2004, the British Touring Car Championship.[30] This was not the company's first motorsport sponsorship, as National Breakdown had sponsored rallies between 1984 and 1987.[31]

2004 saw the company dabble in football again as they took up sponsorship of AOL's coverage of Euro 2004.[32]

The Green Flag logo appeared on the Williams F1 team cars of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima (2009) and Rubens Barichello and Nico Hulkenberg (2010) as part of the RBS sponsorship.[33]

Green Flag is the current sponsor of British gymnast Nile Wilson.[34]

On 28 February 2014, Green Flag announced that it had become a sponsor of Premiership Rugby.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Andy Lambert. "The change begins". A Condensed History of Vehicle Recovery in the UK. 
  2. ^ a b c d Chris Holland. "Former Low Moor, Bradford, National Breakdown boss Bob Slicer dies in Australia". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Our brands: Green Flag". Direct Line Group. 
  4. ^ Andy Lambert. "The "big 2" respond". A Condensed History of Vehicle Recovery in the UK. 
  5. ^ a b Roger Trapp. "Green Flag breaks down the barriers". The Independent. Retrieved 18 June 1995. 
  6. ^ "Green Flag Virtual Patrol Launch". Green Flag. Retrieved 1 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Green Flag introduces new brand character in BRTV and DRTV campaign". Green Flag. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Green Flag LinkedIn profile". LinkedIn. 
  9. ^ Vicki Owen. "'Green Flag is leaving its garages stranded', claim firms with axed contracts". This is Money. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Suzan Uzel. "Green Flag waves in new era". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Our history". Direct Line Group. 
  12. ^ "RBS sells part of its holding in Direct Line Group". RBS Group. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Green Flag breakdown cover levels". Green Flag. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Green Flag". Green Flag. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Green Flag motorbike cover". Green Flag. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Caravan Club Mayday". Caravan Club. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Your Money award winners 2004
  18. ^ a b Your Money award winners 2005
  19. ^ a b Your Money award winners 2006
  20. ^ a b Your Money award winners 2007
  21. ^ Your Money award winners 2008
  22. ^ Your Money award winners 2009
  23. ^ Your Money award winners 2010
  24. ^ Your Money award winners 2013
  25. ^ Green Flag is delighted to have won the Roadside Assistance Company 2012 Award
  26. ^ Auto Express Driver Power Survey 2013: breakdown cover providers
  27. ^ "England team sponsorship". England Football Online. 
  28. ^ Guy Hodgson. "England to wave the flag for £4m". The Independent. Retrieved 13 January 1995. 
  29. ^ "Green Flag drops F3 and signs £1m British Touring Car sponsorship deal". Marketing Week. Retrieved 21 March 2002. 
  30. ^ "Green Flag pulls out of Touring Cars". PistonHeads. Retrieved 16 March 2005. 
  31. ^ "National Breakdown/Cartel Rally results". ewrc-results.com. 
  32. ^ "Green Flag sponsors AOL's UEFA content". Marketing. Retrieved 1 June 2004. 
  33. ^ "RBS F1 sponsorship extended to Green Flag". f1network.net. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  34. ^ Nile Wilson. "Sponsors: Green Flag". Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  35. ^ Green Flag. "Green Flag partners with Premiership Rugby". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 

External links[edit]