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Awards 2012 - Service Supplier of the Year: The AA

Date: 24 January 2012

BusinessCar's headline award for the service supplier industry goes to The AA, a previous winner back in 2008.

The company, which styles itself to members as the fourth emergency service, has developed its offering to corporate customers over recent years to now tote a hefty range of products and services, from the core breakdown cover to the inclusion of driver training, accident management, fuel cards and business insurance.

Under president Edmund King, the organisation has become a mouthpiece for motorists on subjects such as fuel prices and potholes, but it has also been expanding its range. The roadside assistance division has developed with the addition of units specifically designed to deal with cars that have been filled with the incorrect fuel, while The AA also operates units dedicated to windscreen repair, battery revival, lost keys and mobile servicing.

Specialist cover is another line, with specific offerings for minibuses, taxis, emergency vehicles, couriers and even motorbikes. Pay-as-you-go is also an option, with an annual administration fee paid and then companies invoiced according to their business needs through the year.

There are six levels of breakdown cover on offer to businesses, from basic roadside assistance through to full Europe-wide coverage, and the firm's BusinessCar Award-winning accident management is designed to help with vehicle recovery, repairs and insurance claims after accidents or vandalism.

The company's training arm, AA DriveTech, has had a busy year, acquiring both 4x4 training expert Nationwide 4x4 and Harrogate-based data and management expert Intelligent Data Systems, as well as launching a new hybrid and electric vehicle training course to help drivers understand the most efficient way to drive these new technologies. DriveTech fleet risk management, for all staff who drive for work, covers licence checking and risk assessment as well as formal on-road and classroom training.

Other products include insurance and financial services, as well as a wealth of advice on basic car maintenance and how to prevent breakdowns happening in the first place.

The big yellow vans have iconic status these days, and it's easy to think of The AA simply as

a firm that rescues motorists stuck on the hard shoulder. But there is significantly more to the business than that, and this BusinessCar Award is a sign that the industry respects and appreciates the company in a whole series of ways across the operation of a business car fleet.