Norauto, a great brand

Examining

neither Nicolas Monier

In a car maintenance market that will increase by 6% in the year 2022, according to the firm Xerfi, the strike force of the Norauto brand, owned by the Mobivia group (Midas), remains a key asset for franchise candidates in the future. Like its main competitors, the brand founded in 1970 has also accelerated its diversification strategy.

A historic brand, whose model was imported from the United States, Norauto was founded by Éric Derville, cousin of the Mulliez family, in 1970. The first establishment was born in Englos in the north of France. The specificity of the concept was that, for the first time, a workshop was associated with a store. In 2004, Norauto acquired Maxauto, owned by Adedis. Initially, the brand operated the acquired network by offering its products in various centers, some of which were made branches of Norauto. However, there are about sixty franchises that continue to operate their establishment with animation performed by the teams of the northern group and former Maxauto. “In 2012, the decision was made to transfer the acquired brand under the Norauto banner. Then we decided to develop this chain as a franchise”, explains Jean-Pierre Gumez, administrative and financial director at Norauto France Franchise. Today, grouped under the Mobivia umbrella brand (Midas, Carter-cash, Auto 5, etc.), the Norauto brand lists several 140 franchise automobile centers and 280 branches. The total turnover of the group is 1.2 billion euros, including 220 million for the franchise part. With a mature network now, the company says it still has some openings to make.

“We mostly do covers. The average age of our franchisees is 50 years old. Therefore, retirement is the main reason for leaving. Generally, we look for ten to fifteen candidates per year. It translates this way: between seven or eight annual revivals for four to six new openings”accurate Jean-Pierre Gumez.

And he added: “In general, the number of auto centers in France is stable. But we will not have a big growth because the market is already well covered and dense. Both by specialized brands, garage owners and dealers . Our will is therefore not to open to open. We are more now, in the desire to consolidate the network”.

Merchant profiles

You don’t have to come from the seraglio to run a Norauto center. Quite the opposite! As is the case for franchisee Marc Pichon who opened ten years ago in Verniolle (Ariège). “I worked for several years in the world of financial auditing. Auditor, I have a manager profile but passionate about the automotive world, I learned, over the years, the basics of the job”, explained the latter, whose ambition is to open a second center, created ex nihilo, within a year. Same story with Claude Estève. Former store manager within the System U network, the manager, who graduated from ESG in Paris, does not really have the profile of a mechanic. “Not a brake. The network leader is there to pass on his knowledge to you. My role, in my two centers, is to make sure all the cogs are working properly. You don’t have to be a surgeon to run a hospital or a butcher to run a hypermarket”, comments the businessman. However, the manager went back to the workshops to learn the basics of mechanics to his various mechanics. For the brand, the typical franchisee profile remains primarily a merchant. “We are mainly looking for managers rather than machine enthusiasts. They must also be tech-savvy because we are evolving into a more sophisticated universe”Jean-Pierre Gumez continues…

Find the rest of our audit and our brand review Norauto as well as its franchise network, on our dedicated page !

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