Vice President of Sales and Marketing for CRC Industries, Louis Fresta, joined the company in 2008. Louis came to CRC with an extensive background in brake maintenance chemicals and brake friction materials. Prior to joining CRC, he held executive positions at FASA Friction Laboratories and NJA Brake Products. In today’s interview, Fresta shares details about the company’s new CRC 1-TANK Power Renew system, as well as his overall thoughts on the competitive fuel additives market.
Earlier this year, CRC released the new CRC 1-TANK Power Renew system. Tell us about this new product and what makes it revolutionary.
CRC 1-TANK Power Renew is a complete fuel system cleanup – a super-charged fuel additive that removes harmful carbon deposits and provides noticeable improvement in a vehicle’s power, performance and MPG. Proven performance increases, which can be measured after just a single use, are what really differentiate 1-TANK Power Renew in the crowded automotive fuel additives category.
Most additives must be repeated with each fill-up to get the benefits claimed by the manufacturer. CRC has conducted independent laboratory testing that proves 1-TANK Power Renew delivers up to 97 percent total power recovery, 100 percent misfire repair, 99 percent injector flow recovery and an impressive 5.7 percent miles per gallon potential increase. Additionally, these results will last up to 4,000 miles, so it’s much more cost-effective for the consumer who can use 1-TANK Power Renew with each oil change or every three to four months instead of with each tank of gas.
What are the keys to being successful in the fuel additives market today?
First and foremost, you have to have a product that does what it says. Chemical manufacturers also have to educate consumers about why they need to use fuel additives. With the high cost of fuel today, it is often difficult for the consumer to accept that they should add even more cost by purchasing a fuel additive. But, fuel quality is not the same from pump to pump, and many performance problems stem from impurities in gasoline that cause deposits to build up within the fuel system. This is more of a “feeling” – loss of power or sluggishness – rather than something the consumer can easily see is wrong with their vehicle. Sometimes, the gradual decrease in performance is not recognized until there’s a significant problem. All of a sudden, the engine is sluggish or starting rough, and this may actually be due to months of deposit buildup.
For CRC, our success in the consumer-driven fuel additives market is definitely a result of strong relationships with our channel partners.
We absolutely rely on the history we have with our customers, and just as they can count on CRC to consistently provide quality products backed by exceptional service, we also depend on their support to bring new products on board and to work together for future successes.
What percentage of your customers are DIY vs. DIFM? It seems that fewer and fewer people work on their own cars today, are you finding this to be true? If so, how does this affect the way you go to market?
Fluctuation in the market between DIY and DIFM users does not impact us as greatly as one may think. Our goal has always been to develop quality professional-grade products, and with that line of thinking, we know CRC products will be able to meet the requirements of the weekend DIY to the professional technician. Regardless of who is performing the maintenance, superior product quality is the most important factor and CRC can guarantee that to all our users.
How important is social media in communicating with your customers today?
Since CRC does not sell direct to consumers, both Facebook and Google+ have been excellent platforms for our company to communicate with the users of our products. Our fans are a mix of DIY, DIFM and professionals, and they interact with us through social media for a variety of reasons – some are looking for tech tips or have questions about how to use a particular product, some are motorsports fans looking for race photos and updates and others are hoping to win one of our weekly prize packs. Fans can find out about new products and get quick access to our catalogs, videos and other tools through CRC social media. Actively participating in social media has made CRC more accessible to our end-users and also helps us to reach the next generation of CRC consumers.
CRC has been around since 1958. In those 55 years, vehicles have changed dramatically. What are some of the most remarkable innovations you’ve seen that have impacted your market segment?
Certainly, with the advent of computerization, the impact in the automotive aftermarket has been significant. From OBD to telematics, the changing sophistication of the automobile has been astounding. The integration of computerized technology in our industry would stand out as an ever-evolving innovation for us here at CRC.
As vehicles have changed over the years, CRC has developed new formulas, utilized new technologies, and we are continually researching and testing existing formulas to ensure that the products we ship are always the best possible for the job they perform.
Most of our core products have remained relevant. CRC invented the first aerosol brake parts cleaner, CRC BRAKLEEN, in 1971 and while braking systems have certainly changed and advanced over the past several decades, industry-leading CRC BRAKLEEN still remains the best way to keep them clean. Today, we have grown to offer six BRAKLEEN formulas so that we can always supply the absolute best product possible, meeting the specific needs and requirements of all geographic areas across the country.
Most everyone in this industry is ramping up for AAPEX, which kicks off in just a few weeks. What does CRC have planned for this year’s show?
We are a leader in maintenance chemicals, but not everyone realizes the broad line of superior performing products we have at CRC, and we aim to educate all who stop by our booth. CRC 1-TANK Power Renew will be a focus product for us this year. We’ve already received some great feedback on the product and are very excited to share our message with both current and prospective customers at the AAPEX show. We’ll be displaying an engine cutaway in our booth, No. 3816, for a real-world visual example to help demonstrate how 1-TANK Power Renew works inside the engine. We are making some substantial claims with this product, and we have the testing data to back them up. The CRC brand is known globally for making products that work, that do what they say they will. We are very proud of the reputation we’ve earned over 55 years, and CRC 1-TANK Power Renew is no exception to CRC’s high standards.