With significant acquisitions made in 2017, one oil supplier has supercharged its distribution in the UK, a development that factors should be quick to make use of. PMF finds out more.
Some astute brand positioning, new marketing initiatives, plus some improvements to one of the UK’s most high profile automotive product distribution channels, will help Lucas Oil become one of the high profile automotive brands to watch out for in 2018.
Since the beginning of December, independent motor factor partners within the Alliance Automotive Group have been able to order regular daily top ups of over 200 more products from the Lucas Oil range. That’s a significant increase from the handful of additives that were available to the GroupAuto network and United Aftermarket Network before the change.
The catalyst was AAG’s acquisition of automotive logistics and distribution expert FPS, in the middle of last year. The move was always likely to present more profit opportunities for AAG’s GroupAuto and UAN partners. Lucas Oil is perhaps one example of how some of these brand opportunities might emerge.
For example, the FPS portfolio listed a more comprehensive range of Lucas Oil items, which means any motor factor partner can now order any of these products. Now that FPS is carrying the oils range, motor factors can offer their garage customers an alternative brand of oil, plus an extensive range of additives that offers an attractive marketing proposition.
In the US, the Lucas Oil brand is huge. Its range of engine oils, workshop lubricants and problem solving additives is extensive. It’s not just popular with the motor trade; it’s one of the most recognisable consumer brands. The association with not just every kind of motorsport, but also sports involving bats and balls – from grass roots to the Super Bowl – is a testament to its popularity. Even rodeo riders bear the brand.
“There’s no doubt that the timing of these logistical developments is advantageous,” says Lucas Oil Product (UK) Managing Director, Les Downey, “but let’s not forget that the marketing appeal of the brand is proven because the products work and because the profit margins are strong.”
To reinforce this message and take advantage of the brand’s wider availability, a new in-store six product display stand has been designed. The idea is to promote the six best products from the range that best suit the local market. These can be adapted as demand develops. Motor factors that are part of a network served by FPS, can replenish them with daily deliveries on a bottle by bottle basis.
Increased availability of the premium brand is already delivering new profit opportunities for 350 members of the CAAR network. Consumers buy online through the ‘Click & Collect’ website and pick up – next day – from the nearest CAAR member. Members benefit from sales that are made before the product arrives for next day collection. Moreover, they have clear evidence that a new product has sales potential.
CAAR Director, Dave Owen, explains that there has been a significant increase in exposure of the Lucas Oil brand since the 5W-30 synthetic and semi-synthetic oils were added to the range of additives already distributed by FPS, and this is being translated into online sales.
The company’s most astute marketing move of 2017 was to introduce the brand’s first UK produced budget priced oil. The L.O.P Super Lube brand is blended and packaged in the UK. “This helps to stabilise and control costs, which is essential for a budget priced oil. It also means that Lucas Oil can be a budget purchase and is no longer just for premium branded applications,” says Les Downey. “For now, L.O.P is only available to motor
factors who buy direct from Lucas Oil and given its enthusiastic reaction, its prospects look good.”