Accounting for 40% of the global lubricant market, Asia-Pacific is now the leading region for finished lubricant demand. Emphasis on fuel economy and a modern vehicle parc will drive the use of synthetics and other lighter viscosity grade lubricants for the passenger car motor oil (PCMO) segment in the region, according to U.S.- based consultancy firm Kline & Co.
Capitalising on this shift, China and Malaysia are integral to the strong performance of finished lubricants in the Asia-Pacific region, together capturing about 45% of total regional demand, according to “Global Lubricants: Market Analysis and Assessment“ by Kline.
The Kline report includes coverage of China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Driven by a growing vehicle parc, which often includes luxury vehicles, many of these countries are considered the rising stars in the global lubricant market, with a forecast compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 3% on average for the next five years.
In China, synthetic oil demand has grown by more than 10% annually since 2013. Mobil 1 from ExxonMobil is the best known full synthetic product in China, and similar products from Shell and BP are also very popular.
In Malaysia, the consumption of both semi-synthetic and full synthetic PCMOs continued to grow during 2014, capturing almost 40% of the market. Semi-synthetics are more popular than full synthetic lubricants, accounting for about 30% of the PCMO segment. PCMO represents a market share of about 68% of Malaysia’s consumer lubricant market.
Consumption of consumer automotive lubricants in China is split between PCMO and 2T/4T, together with a small quantity of other lubricants, including automatic transmission fluid, gear oil and grease. Moreover, consumers are increasingly purchasing motor oil online and using a local repair shop to make the oil change for them. The online distribution channel in China is thereforeexpected to play a vital role in establishing an online presence for lubricant suppliers across the region.
The performance of the online channel in Malaysia is very different from China. According to Kathy Yuan, analyst at Kline’s Energy practice, Malaysian consumers, who do not like to perform their own oil changes, go primarily to independent workshops. Thus, some lubricant suppliers have launched their own mobile apps that help locate nearby workshops.