By Pramod Thomas:
The advent of electric vehicle (EV) has many repercussions. It may impact, experts say, the world lubricants market, and spur demand for specialty lubricants. However, the German oil and additives specialist Liqui Moly is not deterred.
“Definitely, electric mobility will come. But, you must understand that we have two billion cars in the world now. It is not possible to convert all these cars into electric all of a sudden. Interestingly, electrification also means producing electricity. How will humans do this? Heating coal or oil is also not good for the environment. All these engines which we have now could be developed much better. There is much room to improve fuel consumption in IC Engines and to reduce exhaust emissions. There is enough space for improvement in the existing engines as well,” Ernst Prost, CEO, Liqui Moly, told AutoParts Asia.
When asked if Liqui Moly is concerned about the electrification trend, he said, “I am afraid of nothing. I am 61 years old. I had so much trouble in my life. But always I found solutions. Life is changing all the time, and the world is changing always as well. The only job we have to do is to face every situation and to react in time. The world will give the answers. In the future automobile market, lots of electric vehicles will come. But
we will continue to have IC Engines as well.”
“Electric cars need a battery. Clearly, it is not good for the environment to produce batteries. Besides, to produce more electricity, you need to heat coal or oil. This is also not environmentally friendly. It means destroying the environment further. Life is changing and it is the name of the game. What we need to do is to react in time and to do what is necessary,” Prost said.
‘Only Germany’ Strategy
Founded in 1957 and headquartered in Ulm, Germany, Liqui Moly is a major producer of engine oils and a world leader in lubricant additives. With around 4,000 items, the company offers a broad range of automotive chemicals: Motor oils and additives, greases and pastes, sprays and car care, glues, and sealants. The company sells its products in more than 120 countries and has the complete range for all vehicles. It is one of the few full-range retailers in the vehicle sector. It has been growing continuously- from Euro 50 million in 1999 to Euro 532 million in 2017. The company offers perfect products for cars, bikes, commercial vehicles, construction equipment, boats or garden appliances. Its offerings are suitable for private use at home, in professional workshop applications or for efficient industrial use. Liqui Moly develops and produces exclusively in Germany and does not want to make any changes in this ‘Only Germany’ strategy.
“You should know your past if you want to create future success. We had been growing every year in the past ten years in terms of turnover, profit and number of employees. We have established our presence internationally. Globally, we see more and more cars coming. These cars need lubricants. This is our business. The only thing that we have to do is to make sure that in every engine Liqui Moly is being used, not the other brands. In the next ten years, Liqui Moly will continue what we started years ago. We want to continue our policy and philosophy, and the way we treat customers. Going forward we want to continue making our products in Germany instead of making it in local markets. This has been a successful strategy. We are connected to car manufacturers in Germany such as BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, VW etc. This gives us strategic inputs about the technology of the future engine. We are very well connected with the engine manufacturers and car manufacturers in Germany. ‘Made in Germany’ is a kind of quality label worldwide. And people love to use products made in Germany. There is no need to change our current strategy of producing only in Germany,” he said.
Liqui Moly is sure about selling more quantity if there are local manufacturing plants. But the fact is not tempting enough. “We are 100 percent sure to sell more quantity of our products if we had local production facilities in China, India etc. But we don’t want to sell more quantity. Instead, we want high-standard of quality, high-price for high-quality cars. This is the reason why we stick to the plan of doing everything in Germany,” he said.
Liqui Moly links its recent increase in revenue to the sales force that serves many channels and its very large variety of products. The company has taken timely measures to remain firmly on the road to success, even in economically turbulent times. Part of this package of measures is the continued expansion of the export business. Although the company is growing in its home market, growth is only possible there through competitive displacement. Other regions and countries offer far more potential. The company also sells its products in Mali, and even in Yemen, where the geo-political climate is adverse.