Fueltone’s Commercial Director, David Grindrod, introduces PMF to the company, discussing everything from the support it offers to factors, to what the future holds.
Q. Please introduce our readers to Fueltone?
David Grindrod (DG): We are a UK-based developer and manufacturer of premium fuel additives and engine treatments, and our driving ethos is to make the best products on the market. Having dealt directly with garages for many years, we understand the scepticism around additives, and realised we had to take steps to make our brand ‘stand out from the crowd’. As a result, we took the decision to have our petrol and diesel products independently tested at TUV Nel & Tickford in accordance with European Drive cycle testing. This proved invaluable, with the results placing us as the premium product on the market.
I joined the company 12 months ago to move the business through distribution and motor factors, offering our factor customers a premium range of additives to help them tap into the volume at garage level. We know that very few factors actually do this at present, with the additive business at garage level being taken by companies supplying directly. Now, we have national distribution partners in place, and an increasing number of motor factors stocking our product and growing their business. Alongside this, we have completely rebranded our range, developed new products and opened up new channels relevant to our range of products.
Q. What challenges is the market currently facing?
DG: Emissions has been a hot topic for many years, and will only continue to be more tightly regulated. Having the core data from independent testing has helped us hugely in growing, but our core message will always remain the same: ‘prevention is better than cure’. We focus a lot of our marketing strategy on this message, and believe that this should be trumpeted throughout garages and factors. Developing our multi-shot petrol and diesel bottles has provided a cost-effective way for garages to use an additive with every service.
The other major challenge that I have come up against is the lack of focus at factor level on additives and the potential revenue stream. Having sold steering and suspension products in previous roles, I realised quite quickly that we would have to adapt our strategy in order for the business to grow.
Q. How does Fueltone support its motor factor customers?
DG: We support our motor factors through garage workouts, stock packs, P.O.S material to make their garages aware that they can now buy a premium additive on the day, along with all other parts they order through their factor. The days of garages buying in bulk are a distant memory, yet it remains the case with additives. I believe that this is one of a few remaining product groups where factors have scope for exponential growth. The Fueltone team has grown in 2019 to help support this strategy and the results are being borne out with the success that our customers are achieving.
Q. Which products really represent Fueltone as a brand?
DG: I firmly believe all our products represent our ethos in terms of quality, however, my personal favourite is our engine flush, as it really reflects how we have listened to our customers and developed a range wanted by the garage professional. We developed an oil-based formula with no solvent at all, meaning there was no risk of any damage to the engine.
Our diesel system primer is another product we were first to market with, again developed in conjunction with a core of garages and designed to meet their requirements. As well as looking at ways garages can maximise their profitability through our products, it’s equally important for them to maximise their time and efficiency. Our primer does exactly that, reducing labour time on a fuel filter fitment by up to 45 minutes.
Q. Is the company environmentally conscious?
DG: In 2019, we moved away from plastic in all of our 200ml bottles and over to cans. Whilst this is a positive step, there are many different ways we can try and minimise our impact on the environment. I strongly believe there will be a shift away from single use additives and a movement towards supplying garages in bigger quantities. We already do this in the commercial sector and have started within the car market. Of course, the biggest impact we can have as a business is making our product more widely used at garage level, thereby massively reducing emissions and making the vehicles on the road run much cleaner.
Q. What plans does Fueltone have for the future?
DG: With the growth of electric vehicles, it could be seen as tough times ahead for businesses like ourselves. However, the likes of hybrid cars throw up many different challenges and opportunities for us to provide solutions for, and there will always be a drive to provide cleaner running vehicles, whatever their source of power! Fueltone will remain relevant in the market and at the forefront of innovation.