RAC Limited

RAC Limited (The RAC) is a British automotive services company headquartered in Walsall, West Midlands. 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 Limited
Private limited company
IndustryAutomotive services
FounderFrederick Simms
Area served
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland
Key people
Rob Templeman
Dave Hobday
ServicesRoadside assistance, general insurance
Revenue£501 million (2015)[1]
£95 million (2011)[2]
OwnerCVC Capital Partners (50%)
GIC Private Limited (50%)
Number of employees
3,700 (2011 average)[2]
SubsidiariesRAC Motoring Services Limited
RAC Financial Services Limited
RAC Insurance limited

The RAC emerged as the "Associate Section" of the Royal Automobile Club founded at the turn of the 20th century, and it 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 in April 1999, which subsequently renamed itself RAC plc. In March 2005, RAC plc was acquired by Aviva and therefore delisted.

Aviva then sold the RAC to the Carlyle Group in June 2011. Although Carlyle had originally planned a stock market flotation for the RAC,[3] in September 2014, Carlyle agreed to sell almost half its stake to Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Limited.[4] In December 2015, Carlyle agreed to sell its remaining stake to CVC Capital Partners in a transaction valuing the RAC at £1.4 billion.[5]

The RAC's main competitors are The AA and Green Flag.


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".[6]

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.[6] British School of Motoring (BSM) was purchased by R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd. in December 1998.[7]

In September 1999, R.A.C. Motoring Services was itself purchased by Lex Service from members of the Royal Automobile Club. Lex Service renamed themselves RAC plc in 2002. In October 2000, RAC purchased I/CAD from Intergraph to provide advanced graphical command and control capabilities.[8]

The National Customer Service Awards' recognized the system with the 'Best Use of Technology in Customer Service' award in October 2004.[9]

Aviva acquired RAC plc for around £1.1 billion in March 2005.[10] They went on to raise around £500m from selling some parts of the business,[10] such as RAC Auto Windscreens in December 2008, and BSM to a German company in January 2009.[11][12] BSM has since been sold to Acromas Holdings which owns The Automobile Association.

Aviva ceased providing loans under the RAC brand name in January 2008, and dissolved its partnership with The Co-operative Bank. Aviva sold the RAC to Carlyle Group in June 2011.[13]


Roadside assistance

The RAC has around 2,000 patrols that attend 2.8 million breakdowns each year, this includes overseas breakdowns with RAC Europe. The RAC covers eight 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 four millions calls a year.

They have introduced, for trial, two hybrid vehicles, to cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions.[14] In May 2009, a survey by J.D. Power ranked the RAC highest in "satisfying roadside assistance customers" for the fourth consecutive year.[15] RAC Europe is breakdown cover for customers from the United Kingdom that travel to Europe.

RAC Europe covers forty seven European countries, and provides English speaking Incident Managers, available twenty four 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.[16]

Team RAC

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 reduced their level of sponsorship with the team.

See also


  1. "2016 Corporate Citizenship Report" (PDF). The Carlyle Group. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  2. "Annual Report & Accounts 2011". RAC Limited. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  3. FitzGerald, Thomas (26 September 2014). "RAC float skids off the road as GIC buys stake". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  4. Chassany, Anne-Sylvaine (25 September 2014). "Singapore's GIC poised to buy large RAC stake". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  5. "F1 Shareholder CVC Motors To £2bn RAC Deal". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  6. "History". RAC Foundation. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012.
  7. "History of the British School of Motoring (BSM)". British School of Motoring. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  8. "RAC Motoring Services Signs 4 Million Pounds Sterling Contract With Intergraph Public Safety". The Auto Channel.
  9. "RAC Wins National Best Use of Technology in Customer Service Award With Intergraph I/CAD Command and Control System". Business Wire.
  10. "Aviva sells RAC for £1bn". The Telegraph. London. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  11. "Aviva sell BSM to German firm". The Mirror.
  12. Ebrahimi, Helia (27 April 2011). "Aviva drives towards RAC sale". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  13. Wachman, Richard; Kollewe, Julia (23 June 2011). "RAC sold to American private equity firm Carlyle for £1bn". The Guardian. London.
  14. "About us". RAC plc.
  15. "JD Power survey" (PDF). JD Power. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  16. "RAC Products and Services". RAC plc. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007.
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