A changing global landscape, tighter regulation, and technology advancements are accelerating the availability of better quality, better performing, longer lasting lubricants. Improvements in base stock and additive developments are a further catalyst for change.
Still, formulating and retailing high quality lubricants is only part of the challenge. Equally important is the need to educate customers on the value of these lubricants and to encourage appropriate selection, according to Matthew Joyce, vice president, Global Sales at Lubrizol Additives. “We must take advantage of the significant opportunity to influence and upgrade consumer buying behaviours to deliver real world performance,” he says.
In a presentation entitled “The Drive For Higher Performing Higher Value Lubricants” during F+L Week 2017, Joyce cited a Lubrizol study into end user behaviour in Indonesia that claims 79% of consumers have made their engine oil selection prior to arriving at the shop. Only 21% are influenced after walking in the door, presumably after discussions with a trained service professional.
Perhaps of even greater concern to lubricant companies is that 64% of respondents who cited advice from family and friends as a key influence on engine oil selection. Only one-third of those surveyed indicated that advertising impacted their decision, and less than 15% referenced the owner’s handbook as a source of information.
While these results do not necessarily demonstrate that consumers are using incorrect engine oils for their vehicles, the implication is that we need to move customers further up the value chain. Customers “cannot continue using yesterday’s lubricant technology,” says Joyce.
Selecting the correct engine oil and continuing to use it throughout the life of a vehicle is in the interests of the customer, vehicle and retailer, and provides wider societal benefits of improved fuel efficiency, he says.