During the last 10 plus years, I had an opportunity to travel and meet many people in car refinishing industry. Whether I was in Africa, South-East Asia, Europe or Americas, more or less, I have stumbled upon the same paint brands (or paint groups). These groups, and I would distinguish 4 of them (I don’t want to name them in order not to offend anyone or/and receive angry comments). Nonetheless, I would say that they share a few common traits in what they want their customers and stakeholders to know, and what they prefer not to talk about. Each one of the leading automotive paint group wants to spread a positive image of a leader, innovator, safe partner and global player with socially responsible and transparent business conduct. And mostly all these are true. However, there are also some things, which big sharks of automotive refinishing prefer not to speak.
Here I present 5 truths, which car paint manufacturers won’t tell you:
1. Different paint brands may have exactly the same product inside the can, but with very different pricing. As we all know, each big paint group has more than one paint brand in its portfolio. The idea behind it is to address different customers segments and markets. Very clear up to now. Nevertheless, in many cases the paint inside the tin is absolutely the same. The question is, why some customers must pay more for exactly the same product?
2. Paint approvals by OEM (car manufacturers) are the matter of money, not the quality. Probably you heard many times from your potential customer: “Our manufacturer approves only X brand of paint for the repair jobs”. I have to say that the value and influence of these approvals vary from market to market, yet in some countries you virtually have no chance to supply authorized bodyshop without the approval. Those who are in paint business for a while know, that in some instances, paint companies simply buy this document from OEMs, and the one who pays more, gets the business.
3. Lifetime warranty, which are advertised by some paint brands, is nothing but marketing trick. I like this one a lot. Lifetime warranty reminds me the closes in insurance contracts or bank loans agreements. There are some many “if” in those documents, that one hardly can satisfy all of them. In practice, a paint producer can easily refuse to refund your bodyshop, if he wants to. Look at technical data sheets, and you will realize that it is very difficult to have 100% of conditions fulfilled in a real-world bodyshop. When someone is asking about Etalon products warranty, I always reply that we offer no less than a big paint company offers. Statistics also proves that in 99% problems in a refinishing job comes from the wrong application, human mistakes or equipment failure, and not the material itself.
4. Free equipment and mixing machines are already included in the price of paint. Another trick, which many bodyshops believe in. All the leading paint producers are big multinational corporations, where profit margins and markup are the main figures their shareholders are looking at. Be sure that any free equipment, trainings and any sort of financial incentives, are already paid by you with a vengeance!
5. The paint companies do not produce many of the auxiliary paint materials, like fillers, primers and even clearcoats. They simply outsource the production to smaller players. The funny thing about this is that many times sales managers talk in a rather arrogant and mocking way about the quality of the smaller competitors, who in turn produce for them. In addition, frequently big guys don’t mention on their products the country of origin of their filler or primer. Why? Simply because “made in Turkey” or “made in China” would heart their image.