ChevronTexaco Pulls Plug on Gulf


ChevronTexaco Corp. closed down its Gulf Lubricants business this month, two years after launching it as an economy brand.

A cost-saving product line might seem well-positioned for the downside of a business cycle, but ChevronTexaco blamed the lackluster economy for its decision to axe Gulf.

We were successful in reintroducing the brand, spokesperson Nicole Hodgson said yesterday. But because of the current economic environment, the company decided it would be better off focusing that attention on other activities.

Chevron Corp. bought Gulf Oil in the mid-1980s but did not use the brandfor lubes until creating Gulf Lubricant Co. in early 2001. Officials said then that they planned to take advantage of the fact that the brand name was still well-recognized in parts of the country and pitch it to price-sensitive customers. Their business strategy was to reduce costs by employing only a limited number of traditional sales reps and depending heavily on e-commerce.

Hodgson said ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants reconsidered the Gulf business as part of its review of all operations following the merger of Chevron and Texaco during the fall of 2001. When the business closed two weeks ago, it employed 12 people and operated distribution centers in Houston, Chicago and Atlanta.

American Refining Group Inc., of Bradford, Pa., continues to sell Gulf-branded lubes in 11 Northeast states under a licensing agreement with Gulf Oil Ltd. Outside the United States, rights to the Gulf name are held by Gulf Oil International, headquartered in the U.K.

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