Shades of black
Henry Ford once stated, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black." Automotive styling has come a long way since then. Today, there are tens of thousands of paint colors available in metallic, non-metallic and pearled varieties. When customising their vehicles, buyers use color to express their personality and individuality.
Romanian company Policolor Automotive has been inspiring vehicle coatings in the South-eastern European markets for over forty years. Beginning in 1967, Policolor is now the sole Romanian automotive coatings supplier for local markets. Policolor’s product range includes the industrial and household consumer markets. However, the automotive segment still accounts for more than 50 percent of the company’s turnover.
Policolor manufactures a comprehensive OEM product range. The company has long term partnerships with Dacia Groupe Renault and Daewoo Automobile Craiova, amongst others. Part of Policolor’s flexible range consists of mixing systems with different paint lines covering more than 70,000 available colors for almost all existing car brands up to 15 years old, putties, grundfillers, solvents, degreasing agents and special additives. It currently exports to the Ukraine, Moldova and Belgium. Policolor aims to enter the North American, Asian and Middle Eastern markets in the near future.
Automotive Industries (AI) spoke to Policolor Automotive director Gheorghiu Dragos.
AI: How are you planning to move into the North American, Asian and Middle Eastern markets?
DRAGOS: The most important aspects when assessing an expansion strategy are mindsets and flexibility. Each market has its specifics in terms of technologies and type of products, legislation constraints, and purchasing habits. Therefore we promote a very flexible strategy. This translates to scanning each market case by case, finding the specifics and trying to answer the requirements with the correct product and commercial strategies. Another important aspect is the partner chosen for each market. We carefully analyse the available options and we take the right decision when choosing to consolidate partnerships, or we create our own structures. This is why we never say we have a standard range of products and/or standard and fixed distribution strategies.
AI: In terms of vehicle coatings, what are the most important elements of the product, besides color?
DRAGOS: Color is definitely the number one element in today’s world. But it means nothing without having key quality characteristics like fast drying time, and mechanical and chemical resistance in terms of what concerns the requirements of the car owner. When talking about the requirements of our direct customers, be they car manufacturers or car repair shops, the answer is quite simple: continuous innovation of the product, and improvement of application characteristics – this is in order to save and ensure a quality result. We must not forget the very important aspect of supplying products with a low impact on the environment.
AI: Does Policolor Automotive make use of any unique technology when manufacturing coatings?
DRAGOS: The unique factor is basically included in every product from our range, starting with the conception, development and finalising with our flexible manufacturing. All this translates to a fast response according to the customer’s needs.
AI: How does Policolor Automotive anticipate color and vehicle coatings trends?
DRAGOS: Color, and especially color-concept, will increasingly become one of the determining factors in the buying decision. We will see more releases of special color lines as marketing actions to encourage the buying decision for new cars, and of course an increase of the special effects of colors. It will not be a black and white or silver dominated world anymore.