Valvoline Gets on Goodyears Wagon


This month Goodyear begins offering Valvoline motor oils, transmission fluids, brake and hydraulic fluids, grease and fuel system cleaner at the chains nearly 700 company-owned stores nationwide, another successful push by the lubricant brand into the do-it-for-me market.

Under the agreement, Valvoline will become the default brand for motor oil changes and other fluids used for servicing at company-owned Goodyear auto service centers and Just Tires stores. They are transitioning to it now, Goodyear spokesman Jim Davis told Lube Report. It takes some time for that many stores to switch over, but once they do, thats how it will work.

While Goodyear already was offering Valvolines Zerex antifreeze, Castrol had previously been the [motor oil] brand used in our stores, Davis confirmed.

Lexingon, Ky.-based Valvoline, which is part of Ashland, has its own chain of Valvoline Instant Oil Change quick-lubes, but has made strides in reaching installers beyond its own outlets. In September 2007, more than 850 Sears Auto Center locations began offering Valvoline as their primary brand for motor oil changes. It is also the featured brand at Monro Muffler/Brake and Services stores.

This has been a focus for Valvoline fairly significantly for a number of years, Ashland spokesman Jim Vitak told Lube Report. The do-it-for-me market is a key area for us. Any place that were getting a retailer to carry our brand and gain more visibility strengthens all of our efforts across the spectrum in terms of how we go to market. We like to work with those strong players that can get us the scale and reach out there, and the consistency of service delivery.

George Morvey, project manager of energy for Little Falls, N.J.-based consultancy Kline and Co., said the agreement with Goodyear is a big deal and a good move by Valvoline, especially on top of the 2007 deal with Sears.

They see the shift from retail to installed, and theyre also seeing the channel shifts and where the opportunities are, Morvey told Lube Report. He added that the real action and growth are in the tire, brake and muffler segment of the installed market. Goodyear is the biggest target, theyve been around a long time and will continue to be around a long time, and they are well known coast to coast.

In its July 2008 report, Opportunities in Lubricants: North America Market Analysis, Kline said the U.S. passenger car motor oil market is divided into about 66 percent installed (do it for me) and 34 percent retail (do it yourself). By 2011, Morvey said, Kline sees that shifting to about 75 percent installed.

He noted that quick lubes will continue to be the leading installed-service provider. Certainly quick lubes will never go out of fashion, Morvey said.

Kline is upbeat about the installed channel, he added, which includes quick lubes, service departments at new-car dealerships, repair garages and a category it calls other installed. Within that last category, Kline includes tire, brake and muffler shops such as Goodyear, Firestone, STS Tire and Auto, Midas, Speedy, Monro, AAMCO, and Wal-Mart Tire Lube Express. This other installed segment also includes the service business of auto-parts stores – like Pep Boys stores that have service bays in the back.

Morvey said the auto industry shake-out that has caused many new-car dealers to close up shop in 2008 has left many loyal dealership customers to look for someone else to do their service. If its no longer convenient to bring a car in for repairs to a dealership, we think places like Goodyear, Midas, Meineke and Monro are very well positioned to take that big rush of new business and start to develop a relationship with it going forward, he posited.

He emphasized that tire, brake and muffler shops over the years have aggressively marketed and positioned themselves as complete vehicle maintenance providers – essentially doing anything a new-car dealer can in terms of diagnosis and repair, except warranty work. Typically youll find ASE-certified technicians, theyre all trained and can do essentially anything a car-dealer technician can do, Morvey said. Their goal is to develop a long-term relationship with the vehicle and its owner.

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