Tell us briefly about Quaker State, its history, overall scope and its place within the Shell Oil Company.
The company’s rich history began in 1859 with a small marketing company that produced petroleum products to lubricate steam engines, machinery and wagons. In 1913, Chicago entrepreneur and stockbroker Charles Pape brought together 19 small oil companies in Oil City, Pa., to create a new corporation, Quaker State Oil Refining Corp. Today, Quaker State is a world-class leader in providing quality lubricants and complete lubricant services for both commercial and consumer market segments with over 95 percent brand awareness in the U.S.
What is available in Quaker State’s current aftermarket product line and how do these products differ from the competition?
Quaker State offers a full line-up of lubricants, which includes motor oil, filters, transmission fluids, gear lubricants and greases. Early this year, Quaker State re-introduced its entire motor oil line-up to more appropriately address consumer concerns of wear and durability. Quaker State Advanced Durability motor oil helps decrease the stress on an engine by resisting oil breakdown and provides two times better wear protection than the industry standard. Quaker State Higher Mileage Engine is a thicker oil blend that provides extra protection to help engines with 75,000 miles or more. Quaker State Enhanced Durability synthetic blend motor oil coats the engine with a low-friction, heat-resistant film that reduces metal-to-metal contact when temperatures and stress levels are high. And now, as we remain unchallenged and unsurpassed in wear protection, we are introducing Quaker State Ultimate Durability full synthetic motor oil. As the Wear Challenge affirmed, Ultimate Durability offers unsurpassed protection against friction-related wear at an affordable price.
How does Quaker State keep the end-user, be it professional technician or DIYer, educated on the company’s products and the proper way to use them?
Quaker State employs a full scale marketing plan that utilizes various touch points to educate both end-users and our customers. We employ QuakerState.com, our advertising and direct-marketing efforts, as well as a comprehensive B2C and B2B public relations program. Additionally, we have a grassroots tour that provides an interactive way for consumers to learn about QS and its benefits. Specific to our customers is our Influencer Program, which provides installed locations with in-depth training to better service consumers.
Service providers rely on the consumer mindset that their oil needs to be changed every 3,000 miles. How can the industry do a better job of communicating to consumers that most are considered ‘severe drivers’ and need to stick to the 3,000 mile interval?
Quaker State recommends following all OEM service intervals. Our new ad campaign is built around the stresses of everyday driving, many of which contribute to the definition of severe driving stop and go traffic, jack-rabbit starts, excessive idling. The entire Quaker State line-up is formulated to help engines perform at their peak despite the tough conditions they may face each day.
Do you see the lubricants market growing in the direction of the special blends such as high-mileage oil, Truck/SUV oil and synthetics?
Yes, especially in the area of synthetics and high mileage motor oils. The growth will be directly attributed to the efforts motorists make to keep their running longer. We are seeing the beginning of this trend with the widely reported an increase of regular maintenance being conducted.
Tell us more about the recent “Wear War” challenge that was issued and what you found with the competition.
In recent months we have seen all of the claims going back and forth among the brands we challenged in relation to their product’s wear protection abilities via the industry’s ASTM Sequence IVA test. In various conversations we have found that these claims were confusing to both customers and consumers.
The Quaker State Wear Challenge was a serious challenge and one we issued with every intention of putting our products to the test in the very same Sequence IVA protocol used by API/ILSAC to certify motor oils in the US. This is the exact same Sequence IVA test that Valvoline, Castrol and others are using to make their wear protection claims for their products.
When announcing the challenge, we were very confident in our ability to remain unsurpassed as Quaker State scores exceptionally well in the Sequence IVA wear test. We were so confident in fact that we even offered to run the test at our own expense with a third-party testing facility to ensure and unbiased result.
Were you surprised at the results of the “Wear War” program and lack of input to the other challengers?
Valvoline did respond in writing, but still did not accept the challenge as written in the March 20 letter from Steve Harman. We are not necessarily surprised, but we were disappointed that our competitors opted not to participate in the challenge, which was designed to provide consumers with clarity regarding wear claims as measured by industry testing. However, the competitors’ positions do not change what the team at Quaker State has always known no leading full synthetic motor oil provides better wear protection in the ASTM Sequence IVA test than Quaker State’s full synthetic.
What is the next step QS is taking regarding this program and how will you re-introduce Quaker State’s fully synthetic oil?
We will equip both customers and our sales team with the information that competitors were unwilling to participate. Additionally, to mark the end of the ‘Wear War,’ we are re-introducing Q HorsePower as Quaker State Ultimate Durability full synthetic motor oil new name; same unsurpassed wear protection. With the new packaging, we will clearly call out our unsurpassed wear protection on the bottle.
To finish, I would like to reiterate that the Quaker State Wear Challenge was a serious challenge and one we issued with every intention of putting our products to the test in the very same Sequence IVA protocol used by API/ILSAC to certify motor oils in the US. In fact, we even had Sequence IVA test stands on reserve in the event a competitor accepted the challenge.
We are playing this out in public, which adds a marketing angle to the challenge. However, our goal was to clarify for consumers the wear protection war going on in the U.S. motor oil market. The question for our competitors still remains, “Why would they decline the invitation to test against Quaker State Q HorsePower 5W30 when given the chance and at no expense to them?” Perhaps it is because they know what we have known all along that Quaker State Ultimate Durability provides unsurpassed wear protection via the Sequence IVA test.