JX Nippon Aims High in Thailand


JX Nippon Oil & Energy plans to expand lubricants capacity and distribution channels in Thailand, Lube Report Asia learned during an interview last week with Iwase Eiichiro, the country subsidiarys newly appointed managing director.

We expect production to increase to more than one million liters this year, said Iwase. We aim to increase sales volume to two million liters in 2018. Currently, 95 percent of JXs sales of its Eneos-branded motor oils in Thailand is produced in the country, and the remainder is imported from JXs home country, Japan.

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To establish brand awareness and expand market share in Thailand, the company will increase its branded workshops from its current network of less than 20 to 100 in the next five years, Iwase noted, and its number of dealers from 700 to 1,000.

Iwase, who was previously based in China and India, noted that Thailand offers different opportunities than those markets. The size of the lubricant markets in China and India is very different from Thailand, he said. But Thai consumers are able to discern good quality and high-performance products and there is a high level of trust in brands and technology from Japan, so we think this is a big business opportunity for us.

The popularity of Japanese original equipment manufacturers in the Thai market should also help boost Eneos sales there, he added. The penetration of Japanese fuel-efficient cars will lead to an increase in demand for low-viscosity synthetic oils like the 0W-20.

Thailand has 16 automobile manufacturing plants, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Its the second-largest vehicle manufacturing market in Asia after China, which has 23 plants. This years sales of four-wheel automobiles had reached nearly 410,000 units by the end of June, up more than 11 percent from the same period last year, according to the Asean Automotive Federation.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy (Thailand) is a member of the JXTG Group. In April, JX Holdings and TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK merged to form JXTG Group, Japans largest oil refiner. The two companies sell their lubricant brands separately. JX Holding markets the Eneos brand of automotive and industrial lubricants. TonenGeneral markets ExxonMobils Mobil brand.

Photo: JX Nippon Oil & Energy (Thailand)