RAC – the Royal Automobile Club – providing top breakdown cover

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Holding their head offices in Walsall, England, RAC is one of the UK’s leading providers of breakdown cover.

Founded at the turn of the 19th Century, with the Royal Automobile Club formed in 1897 and uniformed patrols introduced in 1901 – much of RAC’s history has been marked by competition with main rival, the AA. Over the years, RAC and AA have frequently swapped the title of industry leader.

According to the most recent accounts made available in 2011 (prior to their takeover by US investment firm The Carlyle Group), RAC were estimated to draw revenues of around £500 million per year and employ 3,700 workers across Britain.

The main product RAC provide is nationwide emergency assistance for motorists who have broken down through their uniformed mechanics – and they have proved to be the most popular in the business, consistently topping the JD Power survey as the “most satisfying roadside assistance” brand.

Using their own dedicated patrol vehicles embellished with RAC branding, the focus on high levels of customer service mean that customers pay a premium compared to the prices quoted by Green Flag – however, consumers generally seem happy to do this, with around 7 million people currently holding membership with RAC.

In addition to roadside recovery, RAC offers a number of other services, including Vehicle Checks and Examinations, online journey planning and traffic services. They also sponsor West Surrey Racing in the British Touring Car Championship, and rebranded them to Team RAC in 2006.