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 with the production of â€œDacia-Renaultâ€, Policolor Automotive is now the sole Romanian automotive coatings supplier in the local markets.
One of its priorities is to keep up with the latest trends, anticipating its customersâ€™ needs and continually adapting its range of auto products to stay ahead in the market.
Policolor Automotive is the sole original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of varnish and paint in Romania and is listed on the Bucharest stock exchange. The company also owns a majority stake in Orgachim, the biggest paint and varnish manufacturer in Bulgaria.
In 1999 the company branched out from the automotive market and broadened its product range to include the industrial and household consumer markets. However, the automotive segment still accounts for more 50 percent of the companyâ€™s turnover.
Policolor Automotive manufactures three main groups of automotive products: a comprehensive OEM product range, unified under the PRIMA brand, the complete Klar Professional program of refinish coatings and also the Ready Mix range which is more DIY oriented in order to respond to the specifics of the refinish market in East Europe.
Some of the companyâ€™s biggest clients include several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). These companies often request products with a large and varied color range, in different quantities and with immediate availability.
Policolor Automotive is able to accommodate them with its range of coatings specialised for OEMs. The company has long term partnerships with Dacia Groupe Renault, Daewoo Automobile Craiova, truck producer Roman Brasov and Aro Campulung.
The OEM Coatings Market faces today huge opportunities in the Central and Eastern Europe, due to increased interests of the car manufacturers for this region and therefore numerous investments in new production plants, reaching today to more than 39 plants in the region.
As a result to this trend, Policolor Automotive has a huge potential of competing with well known international brands, using key advantages like regional presence and networks, an excellent know how of the marketâ€™s specifics and last but not least highly competitive price.
The Refinish market is naturally a key part in the automotive coatings business; therefore Policolor Automotive answers the requirements of this demanding market with highly specialized product ranges. The leading range is bearing the Klar Professional brand and is developed especially to supply the professional repair workshops with a complete range of products.
The 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.
Due to specifics of todayâ€™s refinish markets the product range is highly flexible.
The paint lines together with the rest of products are available in VOC complying versions like VHS as well as water based products, to comply with European legislation, but also in standard solvent based versions to answer the requirements of East Middle-East and Asian markets.
Policolor Automotive also acts on the industrial, commercial and agricultural vehicle market, providing a wide range of products adapted to each customer requirements: primer fillers and intermediary paints, mono-component non-metallic paints, metallic base in double layer system, clear coats, paints and coatings for plastic, primer fillers and adherent promoters, etc.
In order to stay ahead of the market trends, Policolor Automotive uses flexible manufacturing processes that work on market demand and are easily adaptable, enabling it to introduce new products faster. The company focuses on providing high quality products at competitive prices. It currently exports to the Ukraine, Moldova and Belgium and its sister company, Orgachim exports to Turkey, Egypt, Italy and Macedonia.
Policolor Automotive is aiming to enter into the North American; Asian and Middle Eastern markets in the near future. Its many years of experience and high quality products will ensure the company is able to compete in the global market.
AI speaks to Gheorghiu Dragos, Policolor Automotiveâ€™s director (a division of Policolor S.A.), and asks about Policolorâ€™s plans to expand its presence in Europe
1. How are you planning to move into the North American, Asian and Middle Eastern markets?
A: The most important aspect when assessing an expansion strategy is the mind setting and the flexibility.
We know that each market has its specifics in what concerns technologies and type of products, legislation constraints, purchasing habits and therefore we promote a very flexible strategy.
This translates in 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 analyse carefully the options available and we take the right decision when choosing if we 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.
2. In terms of vehicle coatings, what are the most important elements of the product, besides color?
A: Color is definitely the number one element in todayâ€™s world.
But it means nothing without having key quality characteristics like time, mechanical and chemical resistance in 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, improvement of application characteristics, all these in order to provide savings and a safety of a quality result. We donâ€™t have to forget the very important aspect of supplying products with low impact on the environment.
3. Does Policolor Automotive make use of any unique technology when manufacturing coatings?
A: 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 in fast response to the customer need.
4. How does Policolor Automotive anticipate color and vehicle coatings trends?
A: Color and especially color-concept will become more and more often one of the determining factors in the buying decision. We will see more and more often release of special color lines as marketing actions to encourage the buying decision for new cars and of course an increasing of the special effect colors. It will not anymore be a black and white or silver dominated world.
5. What other industries does Policolor manufacture for, and how do they improve the Policolor profits?
A. Policolor is acting on almost any market which uses liquid coatings: decorative, architectural, construction, DYS, industry, etc; every field that we act in has dedicated teams, supporting and developing it in a highly professional manner and therefore are profitable businesses participating to the continuous growth of the company and group turnover and wellbeing