RAC Limited

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RAC Limited
Private limited company
Industry Automotive services
Founded 1901 (introduction of uniformed patrols)
1978 (incorporation as R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd.)
Founder Henry Jervis Mulliner
Headquarters Walsall, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland
Key people
Rob Templeman
Chris Woodhouse
Services Roadside assistance, general insurance
Revenue £433 million (2011)[1]
£95 million (2011)[1]
Owner The Carlyle Group (50%)
GIC Private Limited (50%)
Number of employees
3,700 (2011 average)[1]
Subsidiaries RAC Motoring Services Limited
RAC Financial Services Limited
RAC Insurance limited
Website www.rac.co.uk

RAC Limited is a British automotive services company headquartered in Walsall, West Midlands and a wholly owned subsidiary of the private equity firm The Carlyle Group. Its principal services are roadside assistance and general insurance and its subsidiaries include RAC Motoring Services Ltd, RAC Financial Services Ltd and RAC Insurance Limited.

RAC was founded as the "Associate Section" of the Royal Automobile Club at the turn of the 20th century and was incorporated as R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd. in 1978. It was sold by the members of the Royal Automobile Club to Lex Service Plc in 1999, which subsequently renamed itself RAC Plc. In 2005, RAC Plc was acquired by Aviva and delisted. Aviva sold the RAC to Carlyle Group in June 2011. The RAC's main competitors are The AA and Green Flag.


The RAC tower in Bradley Stoke, Bristol
1961 RAC Austin Mini Van

The Royal Automobile Club was formed in 1897 by Frederick Richard Simms, which set up an "associate section" to assist members with roadside assistance and to provide motoring services. The club incorporated the associate section as R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd. in 1978. In 1987, the organisation introduced an "Advanced Computer Aided Rescue System".[2]

In 1991, it established the RAC Foundation as its research arm. The RAC Foundation was later turned into a charity and received a legacy from Royal Automobile Club members when R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd. was later sold.[2]

British School of Motoring (BSM) was purchased by R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd. in 1998.[3] In September 1999, R.A.C. Motoring Services was itself purchased by Lex Service Plc from members of the Royal Automobile Club and Lex Service renamed themselves RAC Plc in 2002. In 2000, RAC purchased I/CAD from Intergraph to provide advanced graphical command-and-control capabilities.[4] and in 2004 The National Customer Service Awards' recognized the system with the 'Best Use of Technology in Customer Service' award.[5] In March 2005, Aviva Plc acquired RAC Plc for around £1.1 billion.[6] Aviva then went onto raise around £500m from selling some parts of the business,[6] such as RAC Auto Windscreens in 2008 and BSM to a German company in January 2009.[7][8] BSM has since been sold to Acromas Holdings which owns The Automobile Association.

Aviva Plc ceased providing loans under the RAC brand name in January 2008 and dissolved its partnership with the Co-operative Bank Plc. Aviva sold the RAC to Carlyle Group in June 2011.[9]


Roadside assistance[edit]

An RAC roadside assistance van

The RAC has around 2,000 patrols that attend 2.8 million breakdowns each year, this includes overseas breakdowns with RAC Europe. The RAC cover 7 million roadside assistance customers with 2.2 million individual members and 4.5 million corporate customers. Their breakdown assistance centres operate 24/7 and deal with approximately 4 millions calls a year. They have introduced, for trial, two hybrid vehicles, to cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions.[10] In 2009, a JD power survey ranked the RAC highest in "satisfying roadside assistance customers" for the fourth consecutive year.[11]

RAC Europe is breakdown cover for UK customers that travel to Europe. RAC Europe covers 47 European countries and provides English-speaking Incident Managers available 24 hours a day to assist. The office is based near Lyon in Villeurbanne, France.


RAC Vehicle Checks and Examinations conduct vehicle checks that show if a car has been stolen, written-off, has outstanding finance or previous plates, is at risk of being sold illegally, and that its number plate and chassis number correspond. RAC Vehicle Checks are conducted by Experian, while RAC Examinations Inspectors make physical checks on the car to make sure it is mechanically and structurally sound. The RAC also provides travel and traffic services including online route planners, in-car navigation and help with travel documents.[12]

Team RAC[edit]

Colin Turkington driving for Team RAC BMW at Snetterton
Main article: West Surrey Racing

In 2006, RAC teamed up with WSR (West Surrey Racing) to form Team RAC and to race in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with two MG ZS cars and from 2007 onwards, two (and sometimes three) BMW E90 320si cars. The racing cars were liveried in RAC's corporate orange and have achieved a number of wins, including winning the BTCC Independent Drivers Championship with Colin Turkington in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Turkington was also able to clinch the outright win in the 2009 BTCC Drivers Championship for Team RAC.

For 2010 RAC have reduced their level of sponsorship with the team.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report & Accounts 2011". RAC Limited. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "History". RAC Foundation. 
  3. ^ "History of the British School of Motoring (BSM)". British School of Motoring. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  4. ^ "RAC Motoring Services Signs 4 Million Pounds Sterling Contract With Intergraph Public Safety". The Auto Channel. 
  5. ^ "RAC Wins National Best Use of Technology in Customer Service Award With Intergraph I/CAD Command and Control System". Business Wire. 
  6. ^ a b "Aviva sells RAC for £1bn". The Telegraph (London). 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  7. ^ "Aviva sell BSM to German firm". The Mirror. 
  8. ^ Ebrahimi, Helia (2011-04-27). "Aviva drives towards RAC sale". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  9. ^ Wachman, Richard; Kollewe, Julia (2011-06-23). "RAC sold to American private equity firm Carlyle for £1bn". The Guardian (London). 
  10. ^ "About us". RAC plc. 
  11. ^ "JD Power survey" (PDF). JD Power. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  12. ^ "RAC Products and Services". RAC plc. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. 

External links[edit]