Lewis oils wheels of success

Time 12 years ago

It may be essential stuff, but as Richard Aucock discovered, many dealers are missing the chance to turn oil into profits


LEWIS Hamilton is Formula 1 World Champion. Which is as relevant to you as it is to billions of F1 fans. See, part of the key to his success was having the right oil in his motor. And, though Mobil 1’s been busy ensuring he has just the lube for the job, it also hasn’t forgotten YOU.

So, how can you use some of this motor racing success to ensure your own profits win, too? Well, by putting the old saying, ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ into practice. And we don’t mean shifting more cars here.

Times are tough, and there’s no denying sales have dropped. This is really affecting the profitability of many car dealers. That’s why other sources of profit are needed.

Aftersales is one such area. Customers are keeping cars longer. And, where they do this, they also need to maintain them more; replace the consumables that wear out; and keep on top of day-to-day running issues. See, aftersales is a profit stream to tap even in these tough times.

There’s no better place to start than oil. All cars use it. All cars can run low. It’s the one consistent across every brand, every car, every make and model under the sun. Five or six different types of oil can cover the vast majority of cars on British roads. Even better, stocking just ONE brand can cover pretty much EVERY car on sale.

Enter Mobil 1. The world’s leading synthetic oil. Used by more car manufacturers on the production line than any other. Able to offer customers ‘new car’ fuel economy even half-a-decade down the line.

pouring-oilBut, isn’t it a premium product, you’ll immediately stop and tell us? Expensive, not of relevance to my customers? That’s just what we thought. So we pitched the question straight to Mobil 1. Not so, they said: ‘We’re a premium motor oil upgrade that will cost a maximum of £20 per year.’

Just 38p a week, for an oil that’s good enough for Lewis Hamilton, with all the associated benefits that this connection brings… Okay, that sounds compelling to us, we said. Do tell us more about how car dealers can benefit here.

Graeme Cassidy, UK national accounts manager for Mobil 1, is just the man. ‘Dealers really should be looking to take advantage of Mobil 1 branding,’ he says. ‘Especially alongside the association with our British F1 World Champion.’

The big starter question for car dealers, of course, is how they can make money from doing this. Well, first of all, says Cassidy, by playing current trading conditions to their advantage.

‘Motorists are holding on to their cars for longer,’ he says, ‘and becoming more conscious than ever of the running costs.’ This makes them more likely than ever to choose cheap oil – it’s an easy saving.

‘Service advisors need to convey the associated benefits of a top grade oil – by telling customers about the financial significance of the false economy of cheap grade oils.’

It’s something Mobil 1 has already been addressing. An education scheme has been running for some time now ‘proactively upselling and enjoying the associated benefits – namely, financial gain and customer retention’.

If you’re seeking one compelling reason why you should sign up, consider this: Cassidy reveals a fact that should truly shock car dealers… PETROL FORECOURTS are taking the vast majority of top-up sales. Yes, petrol stations, nicking your business! What does this say? That oil is only being viewed as a ‘distress purchase’.

‘Car dealers have a unique opportunity to take ownership of this sales funnel,’ says Cassidy. ‘Why were those customers not already carrying a bottle? Why had the dealer failed to sell it to them in the first place during a regular service? This is why we have extended our Top Up training and education scheme, to show the full benefits of the scheme.’

That’s just one of many revenue streams. ‘Profits can be generated from in-service fills, top-up sales – even trade sales. Dealers can also make the most of our aftersales programmes, such as data sourcing and vehicle health checks. We’re happy to give car dealers any information they need on these – all they have to do is drop us a line.’

Indeed, Cassidy says there is no particular ‘type’ of dealer Mobil 1 will welcome hearing from. Simply, ‘any dealer looking to drive income! We want to sign up dealers who are able to motivate staff, to take the time to learn about Mobil 1 technology – in short, someone who is passionate about educating and selling to customers.’


After all, not only have lubricants ‘always made an important contribution to dealer margins’ they can even offer a lift to the entire car dealership. By hooking up with Mobil 1, says Cassidy, it shows the dealer cares about the oil put into cars which, by extension, suggests only the best materials, spares and skills are used elsewhere. Psychology at work, he says. ‘Mobil 1 introduces ideas to sell brands rather than products,’ he adds.

Cassidy reckons it’s a great time to be hooking up with Mobil 1: ‘The Lewis Hamilton connection has made the brand more visible – Mobil 1 is arguably THE motorsport oil brand. This delivers all the key messages to buyers.

mobil-1-product‘From a marketing perspective, brands only add to the service offering – and to customer confidence.’

He offers a striking illustration. ‘When burger chain McDonalds stopped offering Coca-Cola and started using their own-brand Cola, sales fell by 25 per cent!

‘Why? Because customers did not associate with this branded product as well as Coke. They were not reassured by the purchase.

‘Your customers have already bought into the brand above your door, so the same sentiment applies to the proactive promotion of the trusted oil brand used in their vehicles.’

It can even be used as a sales tool by the used guys, says Cassidy. Communicating any cars offered with a full service history using Mobil 1 is a real bonus, he says. Give them a wallet full of stickers and, chances are, they’ll be reassured. Better still, show them the sticker glued in the engine bay…

Of course, after all this, the technical benefits are easy to portray. Mobil 1 works in temperatures of -50 to +50 degrees C. Ensures engines start easily in all climates. Saves five per cent of fuel over conventional oils. Helps protect catalytic convertors and emissions control devices. While also, of course, ensuring virtually zero engine wear.

Remember the famous BMW that Mobil 1 ran for a million miles? Whose engine it stripped down at the end of this marathon, and found every single component tolerance was still within production line tolerance? Well, that was two decades ago. Since then, oil quality has improved even further.

‘The fuel saving alone will pay for the upgrade,’ says motorsport technology manager Bruce Crawley. But there are ample other reasons why Mobil 1 is the top synthetic oil on sale.

He goes deep into the F1 connection with us, by showing slides of scientists in white coats with measuring jars. Clinical? Well, we’d fear for eating off the surfaces we saw… simply through concern of getting them dirty!

mobil-1-f1-b‘In F1, the key priority is to release as much power as possible, the secondary consideration is to provide long-life protection.’

Mobil 1 emphasises getting the most performance out of the Mercedes F1 engine: did you know, for example, that the few extra bhp released by a new grade of oil helped Lewis Hamilton win the British GP?

In time, this crosses over into road cars. This oil technology often finds it way into subsequent generations of Mobil 1 road-going oils. Mobil 1’s scientists are constantly trying to reduce friction in the engine to deliver more of the fuel’s energy in road traction.

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But this cannot be done at the expense of compromised durability – so the challenge comes in the balance between performance and protection.

There’s a lot to it. But there doesn’t have to be a lot to selling it. You can let Lewis Hamilton do that for you – so long as you have the processes in place to handle what customers demand, Mobil 1 reckons it has a product that’s primed and ready to go.

Next time you see Hamilton on the podium, showing off yet another Mobil 1 logo on his overalls, think about how cool it would be to tie into this free worldwide ad, with that exact same logo sitting on your showroom’s shelves…


James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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