By Pramod Thomas:
When the Bluechem Group started in Bavaria, South of Germany, in 1988, it had only six products. During the last three decades, the product portfolio of the group expanded to over 400 and it is present in 120 countries. This year the Bluechem Group celebrated the 30th anniversary of its world-renowned high-quality brand PRO-TEC. Now, the brand has several chemo-technical products. In 1999, the chemical-technical production in Leutenberg was founded. Subsequently, the production of most of the products was relocated to Leutenberg/Thuringia.
“The Bluechem Group’s success is based on its commitment to lead the automotive industry by developing and patenting performance-optimising and environmentally-friendly products of highest quality, expanded by modern workshop, industry and service concepts. Continuous innovation, creativity, expertise, strategic operations, global supply chain management, and highly motivated employees are the foundation of the Group,” Werner Urban, Chief Executive Officer, Bluechem Group, told AutoParts Asia, on the sidelines of Automechanika Frankfurt 2018. The current revenue of Bluechem Group is 100 million Euros and the company wants to double it in the next five years focusing on China, India and the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), besides its traditional markets in Europe and the Americas.
The product range of the company includes Cleaning and Care, Lubricants and Sealants, Car body, Vehicle Preparation, Air Conditioning etc. For the filling of high-quality oils and lubricants in-house, the Group founded the new Company Bluechem Group lubricants in 2018.
At Automechanika Frankfurt, a versatile product range – from engine oil to automatic transmission oil – was presented for the first time. Various oils and lubricants will also be available under the PRO-TEC brand in all continents. “We have lube oils as a product range and also we have re-launched our lube oil products in Automechanika Frankfurt 2018. We expanded the range and the next target is to go global with the lube oils,” Urban said.
The new line of the PRO-TEC range originates from its joint venture partner Action Bluechem Asia Ltd. (ABA). As the demand for PRO-TEC oils and lubricants grew significantly in China, an official launch took place a few months ago. Bluechem Group is planning to make available the PRO-TEC oils and lubricants in all other countries shortly.
“What began in 1988 as the ‘handful of products’ has become an extensive portfolio over the years that allows a variety of cleaning, maintenance and care applications for various automotive system cycles. Whether fuel system, oil circuit or automatic transmission, PRO-TEC offers comprehensive solutions that ensure the mobility of a vehicle. Bluechem Group is producing, developing, selling, distributing additives, and chemicals for car maintenance services. We call ourselves the technology leader as we are always ahead in producing and developing new products,” Urban said.
The combustion chamber cleaning system Carbon X presented by the Bluechem Group in 2017 received the German Innovation Award 2018 in the category of ‘Excellence in Business to Business-Chemical Industry’. “We are manufacturing and developing the latest technology of automotive service maintenance car care chemicals. When we started we had about six products. Our products were unique in quality, effectiveness, and application. When we started there were no products similar to ours in the German market. We introduced them in the market. It was hard to introduce something new in a traditional market like the automotive. Our products were mainly used by automobile workshops when they repair and service vehicles and engines. Since 1988, we developed well in Germany. We started export in the early nineties, first to the European and later to the world markets. Now we have distributors or partners in more than 120 countries,” he said.
Now, the company has its original factory in Germany. Besides, the group has a factory in China for South-East Asia, and in Mexico for the US and South America. It has own subsidiaries all over the world that look after the market by training, developing new products, and customising products in the regions. In Germany its products are sold to the professional workshops under the PRO-TEC brand, and in other countries, to the retail and private workshops, under Bluechem. It sells to OEMs also. The products are certified by TUV Nord and TUV Thuringen. Over the years Bluechem has received many awards such as 100 Most Valuable Consumer Brands (World Consulting and Research Corporation), German Innovation Award (German Design Council), Asia Honesty Awards (Asia Excellence Entrepreneur Federation), Innovative Through Research (German Stifterverband).
When asked about future challenges in the industry with the advent of electric mobility, Urban said the Bluechem Group is “going with the markets.”
“We want to stay ahead also. As and when we see the car market takes a new direction we are ready to develop for that segment. The future may come. We are ready. Increasing environmental requirements, more complex technologies and the increasing mobility of people at home and abroad are the main reason for great opportunities promising a dynamic growth for the group. To test new technologies we closely cooperate with our business partners from industry, motorsports, and science to justify the increasing demands of the market. That’s why we will have to think about the future, the electric hybrid cars. The build of the engine of an electric hybrid is different from the common engines as they are more down-sized, but the effectiveness is more. At Automechanika we have launched our hybrid vehicle product range. We are very keen to stay ahead as the technology leader in these kinds of products. We have really put lots of efforts and technology for hybrids and we will also have products for electric cars,” he said.
Bluechem Group has launched products such as Fuel Line Cleaner Hybrid, Engine Flush Hybrid and OXICAT Hybrid for the hybrid vehicles. The Fuel Line Cleaner removes all contamination resulting from short-term operation, as well as condensation and moisture. It lubricates sensitive components and protects them from rust and corrosion. The Engine Flush Hybrid eliminates contamination and gumming in the entire oil and lubricating circuit and neutralises harmful engine acids before the oil change. OXICAT Hybrid cleans the entire exhaust system, especially in the areas of the catalytic converter, the lambda probe, the turbocharger, and the EGR valve. It also removes the dirt resulting from the irregular use of the engine. The effectiveness of all products has been repeatedly checked in-house and confirmed by TÜV Thuringia.
Constant market studies and the ongoing dialogue with partners at home and abroad enable the Bluechem Group to take up new trends and identify niche markets and guarantee the required flexibility in defining offers for certain target groups, he said.
According to Urban, the Bluechem Group brings the products and the technology. It also offers training to develop manpower to the latest level of technology and expertise.
“We train many people worldwide on the know-how and the technology. We are not only selling products and applications. We also provide training, on why you need this application, how you do this application, the different kinds of applications available, why you need to service, what are the consequences, what are the benefits for the customers, how to market it etc. We provide all levels of training. This is how we do business and this is how we became successful. Even in Germany the philosophy is to bring the best in the latest technologies and products and give the know-how and the expertise to make the most out of them for everybody,” he said.
Urban added that Bluechem
wants to work with local players in every country by giving them the know-how, products, support and also would like to open local factories.
China, India, Africa
The Bluechem Group wants to grow big in China and South East Asia, in India and in Africa. The company even wants to associate with the Skill Development initiatives in India.
“One of the most promising markets for us is Asia. China is still our biggest export market. We want to grow faster there. Two years ago we started the German supervised workshops system there. Under this, we give everything to workshops to run a successful business, we monitor the products they use, the applications they do and the quality level of the workshops and the concept of running a professional workshop. We have ambitious plans for the workshop concept, besides our traditional business. This is a new business model which we want to replicate in other markets especially in India, the next big market we are looking for growth. Bluechem wants to play a big role in this market. We have a joint venture in India. We have also started in Africa, an interesting and vibrant market,” Urban said.
The company started Bluechem West Africa in July 2018 for the ECOWAS region. It is a 500-million people market.