Warranty Direct describes itself as “the UK industry’s leading provider of car warranties direct to the consumer”. Its website features 156 buying guides and motor warranties for some 18,173 models. The company’s particular speciality is mechanical breakdown insurance for vehicles coming out of the manufacturer’s standard three-year warranty. It also offers protection for bicycles and brown and white household goods. The business model certainly impressed French banking giant, Paribas because, in April 2008, Cardiff Pinnacle took a majority stake in the business. Though the downturn was rapidly closing in, the company achieved turnover of £8m in 2008, making pre-tax profits of £645,400, though whether it’s able to repeat that performance in the midst of the recession remains to be seen. Perhaps as a sign of difficult times, Warranty Direct is currently offering 15 per cent off normal policies.