This issue begins our series of in depth reviews of F&I Products. Starting with Appearance Protection, we will provide direct insight into the product providers, their products and how they are working to stay ahead of the pack.
P&A Magazine reached out to several companies to provide company profiles to create this article. Seven appearance protection companies responded to our questions about their products, services and the future of the industry.
All seven companies are well established. The newest members of the group that participated are Trident having started their business in 2007 and Xzilon, which made their announcement at NADA 2004 to merge into the automotive market. Cal-Tex is a 25+ year member, PermaPlate and Treatment Coatings have 30+ and 40+ years respectively. The senior members of this group are ECP with 75 years in the business and Simoniz, crossing the centennial mark of 100 years. With over 200 years of combined experience, these companies know the marketplace. They keep up with ever changing technologies, maintain compliance with state and federal regulations and anticipate the needs of their clients.
We found many similarities among these companies. All companies have great success with their broad range of appearance protection products for the both interior and exterior of vehicles. Exterior products include paint protection but also ding, dent and more. Interior protection products include fabric, vinyl, leather, carpet and more.
All of these products can be applied to automobiles, but many of these companies also target the RV, Marine and powersport industries. A couple of the providers even support the aviation market.
Each of these companies uses their own chemical products and all provide varying levels of warranties. They have also created attractively named packaged offerings that combine a variety of their products that clearly supports the menu selling process, deliver true value and enhance profitability to providers and dealers.
As for the future of the appearance protection industry, all companies have specifically stated that they must keep up with industry trends and changing technology. The common ultimate goal is to keep the customer happy with the products they are providing and to exceed their consumers’ expectations.
So what differentiates these companies from one another? Product? Not really. Overall, it is clear to us that these products all work well and do what they promise to do. Individuals purchasing cars see the value of appearance protection. Service and Dealer support? The information provided indicates that they all saw these as important components to their success.
What’s important when selecting an appearance protection company? Click below to read the company profiles
Appearance Protection Company Profiles
How did Cal-Tex start and what helped drive its success?
Cal-Tex began as the collaboration of two friends who met while serving in the Navy. Ronald Rago operated a business that sold undercoating products to dealers in California, and Gary Osborn had a similar business in Texas. They incorporated Cal-Tex in 1983, and combined their existing companies. Ron retired from Cal-Tex in 2006. Gary still actively participates in its day-to-day operations.
Tell us about ECP, how it started and what helped drive its success?
ECP Incorporated, and its affiliate, Daubert Industries, started in 1935 serving multiple industries including the US military and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Since 1969, ECP Incorporated, under its brand names, Auto Armor, The Protector and Platinum Protection, has served many of the finest automobile dealers in the nation. Today, ECP has distributors and agents throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and South Africa and continues to expand world-wide. The ECP story in recent years has been one of expansion, in terms of new markets, new products and increased acceptance through professional training on existing products and services.
How did PermaPlate start and what helped drive its success?
In the late 1970’s, Bill Nisson launched the PermaPlate line of automotive appearance protection products in response to consumer and dealer demand for more reliable products in this particular arena. Now, over three decades later, the needs of our customers continue to drive our business. Through the turbulence in the automotive industry over the past 30+ years, PermaPlate has stayed true to its basic objective – providing high quality products and exceptional service to dealer partners and customers every day.
How did Simoniz get its start and what helped drive your success?
Our Simoniz® brand celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2011, so for over 100 years we have been making appearance care products for the auto industry. We are involved nationally and internationally in the Car Wash industry, Reconditioning and Detail Market, Janitorial, Infomercial, and Big Box Retail. So it was a natural progression and a great fit for us to offer a program for the F&I industry under the Simoniz® brand.
How did Treatment Products get its start and what helped drive your success?
Treatment Products Ltd. has been manufacturing quality automotive products for over 40 years. All of our high quality products are manufactured and packaged at our 65,000 sq. foot facility in Chicago, Illinois. The Treatment brand is successfully marketed and sold worldwide as a direct result of our commitment to high quality formulations and unsurpassed performance. Treatment Products Ltd. offers a full range of automotive cleaning, appearance, and protection products. We are a dedicated, experienced and reliable long term partner that has a proven history for making a difference.
How did Trident get its start and what helped drive your success?
Trident was founded in early 2007. We provide a product that outperforms our competition while keeping sight of the fact that the Agent is our customer. Trident provides leading edge product, fast and flexible solutions to solve any sales challenges our Agents face, we enable their success in positioning our products in their dealers where they have the relationships. Trident’s team has vast experience in chemical manufacturing, engineering, dealer ownership, auto reconditioning, and the finance and insurance industries. Understanding every aspect of our field has allowed us to quickly become a premier appearance protection company in the industry.
How Xzilon company get its start and what helped drive your success?
Our company was actually started through an associate company, Granitize, which is based in Southern California and has been in business since 1930. We had a product that we were using in the aviation industry that we actually developed for Boeing.We thought that there would be a good use for it in the automotive industry. At NADA 2004, Xzilon was launched.