19 June 1905. A small group of motoring enthusiasts band together to warn fellow drivers about speed traps.
They opt to call themselves the Motorists' Mutual Association.
In response to the zealous police enforcement of driving restrictions, the group organised teams of cyclists who, through a combination of signals and salutes, assisted drivers to stay safe on the roads and avoid punitive penalties.
A month later, as the group established an enthusiastic following among the motoring community, they settled upon a new name (and it was a real keeper). The Automobile Association.
1914, AA patrols with their bicycles
As motoring grew in popularity, we too pushed boundaries to meet the novel needs of our driving customers.
- 1907 – we devised and offered our first motor insurance policies.
- 1912 – began to inspect hotels, using our now famous star ratings.
- 1920 – we pioneered the first roadside petrol pumps.
- 1923 – 650 cycle (and motorcycle) patrolmen kept drivers on the road.
- 1934 – membership exceeded 100,000 – roughly 1 in every 3 cars in the UK.
- 1950 – our membership hit the 1 million mark.
- 1968 – mainly motorcycle-led AA patrols were replaced with AA branded vehicles.
Fast forward to the present
We boast the largest fleet of roadside patrol vans in the UK, kitted out with advanced vehicle technology that gets us to drivers in need – every 9 seconds.
And our roadside mobile app, now used by over a million drivers, has innovated new standards in roadside services.
Of course, these days we're so much more than 'car people'.
From driving lessons, car reviews and buying guides, to accommodation, pub and restaurant guides.
From car maintenance, mileage calculators and route planners, to mortgages, savings accounts and pet insurance.
From breakdown cover to broken boilers. As our customers have evolved, so have we.
So while we remain a trusted, constant companion to UK drivers. We're also here for intrepid travellers and day trippers. For pub goers and foodies. For savers and planners.
Wherever you go, you'll find us there – with you, for you.
Different world, same story
Of course the world looks very different these days compared to 1905.
But for our members, some values always remain the same. And we still exist for the same reasons as those that motivated our founders, over 100 years ago. A desire to deliver:
- reliable services that put you first
- authoritative, trustworthy advice and guidance
- technological innovations that make life easier
What matters to our members, matters to us. And that will continue to shape our work in the future.
Here's to the next 100 years…