ConocoPhillips Joins Quick-lube Race


Another entry will soon be joining the already-crowded quick-lube market. ConocoPhillips last week unveiled Lube Shop, a program designed to serve as a uniform sales channel and identity for its four brands of passenger car motor oils: Kendall, Phillips 66, Conoco and 76.

Observers frequently describe the quick-lube market as saturated, but an industry publication recently documented the growth of chains linked to oil companies with signage programs like Lube Shop. ConocoPhillips officials said room for more growth remains and that they intend to tap into it.

Over the years, weve seen a growing demand for a nationally branded fast-lube program that helps stand-alone lube shops, car washes and gasoline retailers compete and thrive in todays marketplace, Director of Programs Ray Sparling said.We believe the new offering will help Lube Shop operators gain instant credibility and great advantages associated with the strength of ConocoPhillips brands.

The Lube Shop program was developed for quick lubes that are independently owned, rather than franchised or owned by oil companies. The Lube Shop name and the programs signage are meant to establish a uniform image, while still allowing operators to choose which of ConocoPhillips oil brands to feature. Stores that feature Kendall oils, for example, will have signs designating them as a Kendall Lube Shop.

ConocoPhillips has an existing program for the Phillips 66 brand – Phillips TropArtic Fast Lube, which pre-dates the 2002 merger of Conoco and Phillips. It has approximately 120 participating locations, but is smaller than chains developed by other major oil marketers. The dominant player in the North American market is Shell Oil Products US, owner of the Jiffy Lube chain, which has more than 2,100 locations. Shell also owns the Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Change and Shell Rapid Lube chains, which have 887 and 275 sites, respectively, according to the March issue of National Oil & Lube News.

Valvoline has two chains – Valvoline Instant Oil Change and Valvoline Express Care – which claim 760 and 366 locations, respectively, the magazine reported. Texaco, Citgo and ExxonMobil all have chains with at least 180 locations.

NOLN noted that most of the fastest growing chains are linked to oil marketers.

[O]il company signage programs (especially those with strong identities and marketing programs) continue to register solid or even spectacular growth, it stated.

Sparling said Lube Shop gives ConocoPhillips and its marketers more sales outlets. This is an opportunity for our marketers across the United States to take our products to this marketplace and really pursue the quick-lube industry, he said.

In addition to signage, the Lube Shop program will allow operators to participate in ConocoPhillips credit card program, and offers assistance with demographics, site selection and building plans.

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