Filipino oil giant Petron said its lubes sales in Malaysia grew by double digits last year thanks to marketing at its service station network and increased brand recognition, which it hopes to continue developing as it expands more this year.
We posted a 10 percent growth last year thanks to the support of our distributors, dealers and customers, Head of Commercial Business Choong Kum Choy told Lube Report Asia. We hope to sustain this growth as we expand our presence in Malaysia.
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In March 2012, Petron Malaysia Refining and Marketing Bhd. acquired ExxonMobils Malaysian fuel business. Its sister company, Petron Fuel International Bhd., established the companys lubricant business there by marketing its complete line of lubricants at its service stations – which now total more than 560 locations. Choong said brand recognition is Petrons biggest challenge in Malaysia, and that its fuel retail network is key to its lube sales.
There are many players in the lubricants market [in Malaysia]. Brand familiarity and acceptance is fundamental to how successful one can be in this market. Petron is very well-placed in this respect, having the benefit of a large chain of service stations to provide visibility and confidence in the brand, Choong said. Our service stations have been vital in showcasing the Petron brand. Through our stations, we have gained widespread acceptance in the market and now have a strong base of loyal customers.
To further promote brand loyalty, Petron launched the Petron Miles Card for consumers and Petron Fleet Card for clients in the industrial sector. The customer card grants motorists points every time they fill up and offers discounts and other benefits. The fleet card has an embedded microchip and pin allocated to a specific driver and vehicle to prevent tampering and to allow businesses to track their fleets consumption and expenses in real time.
Petron did not disclose specific details on its plans to expand in Malaysia. Lubricants are a lucrative business for [Petron] in Malaysia and elsewhere, Choong continued. We are also inclined to tap nontraditional markets such as car service centers to expand our customer reach. We are exporting lubricants to countries around the region and will continue to explore other market opportunities.
Petrons lubricants are primarily manufactured at the Philippines Pandacan Terminal in Manila and also by local third-party blenders. We do not process lubricants in Malaysia due to competitive reasons, said Choong.
Petron supplies a range of gasoline and diesel engine oils under Blaze Racing and Rev-X brands, respectively, as well as industrial oils, greases and specialty products.