The AA has launched a roadside assistance vehicle in Auckland capable of an all-wheels-up recovery it hopes will save motorists time and hassle when they break down.
The purpose-built rapid recovery vehicle can deploy its trailer and lift all four wheels of a broken-down vehicle weighing up to 2.5 tonnes (covering most personal vehicles) in about 10-15 minutes, removing the need to call for a tow truck if the vehicle is unable to be mobilised at the roadside.
The technician will then tow the broken down vehicle to their home or a place of repair. When requesting assistance during alert level three, AA Members will be asked to organise their own transport home or a taxi can be arranged, if their vehicle is unable to be mobilised.
AA general manager roadside solutions Bashir Khan says the RRV - a Mercedes Vito - will be assigned to callouts with a high chance of requiring a tow.
“As vehicles have become increasingly complex, even with the latest tools and decades of experience, it’s become more challenging for our team to mobilise AA Members’ vehicles at the roadside,” says Bashir.
“That’s meant sometimes a service officer will attend a callout but be unable to mobilise the vehicle, so the member has to wait again for a tow truck to arrive.
“Our RRV technicians, Rex and Lee - both previously AA service officers - will first attempt to mobilise the vehicle with the usual tools and equipment our service officers carry, but if that isn’t possible, they’ll simply deploy the RRV’s trailer and tow the vehicle.”
The RRV will operate daily between 7am-6pm, remaining on standby until 8pm. The AA hopes to launch a second RRV (a Mercedes Sprinter, which can transport vehicles weighing up to three tonnes) in Auckland later in the year.
If the pilot of the first two vehicles is successful, it will look to introduce more RRVs in the super city and elsewhere to work alongside existing towing partners.
The AA is also currently piloting an EV breakdown service in Wellington, available via AA Roadservice, with plans to expand the service to other areas in the near future.