A National Brand, A Hometown Feel: Mobil 1 Lube Express

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High-quality lubricants and top-notch service — that’s the goal behind ExxonMobil’s chain of Mobil 1 Lube Express shops. For quick lubes wanting to connect with a national oil brand, Mobil 1 offers some good incentives for lube businesses and their customers.

The first Mobil 1 Lube Express opened in 2003. As Thomas Neuner, field marketing advisor – PVL Installed for ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants & Specialties Marketing Company explained, the program quickly ramped up success. Mobil 1 Lube Express was named the Fastest Growing Quick Lube chain for three consecutive years from 2004-2007, experiencing the highest store unit of growth of any quick lube program in the industry.

The aim of the Mobil 1 program was, and continues to be, providing independent automotive service centers and oil change outlets a way to connect with the Mobil brand and leverage its top-selling synthetic motor oil. Synthetics, of course, offer several advantages to consumers — for example, they tolerate temperature extremes better than conventional oil and they can help prolong the life of a vehicle’s engine.

It’s not only about the products, though that’s key to the automotive service industry. Mobil 1 Lube Express also offers quick lubes and other maintenance shops that participate in its program the advantage of working with a big company while still maintaining their mom-and-pop roots because each Mobil 1 Lube Express is independently owned and operated. It’s not a franchise so much as a partnership. And ExxonMobil can bring a lot to the table in that partnership.

ExxonMobil works with new and existing passenger car oil change retail outlets to develop Mobil 1 Lube Express centers, which feature Mobil-branded products and are supported by their aftermarket programs and services for installers. Business owners use this additional support to set themselves apart in their communities.

Jim Prasnikar, owner of the Cheswick Mobil 1 Lube Express in Pennsylvania, said, “I feel like my ExxonMobil sales representative has a genuine interest in helping my business grow and making sure it is successful. With my past installers, I felt like a small fish in a big pond, and they seemed less interested in helping family businesses. ExxonMobil treats me differently and genuinely seems invested in my business. You can tell they want to do more than slap their logo on my shop and put their products in my hand.”

Prasnikar and others like him are voicing a common refrain in the business world today. It’s not easy for small family stores to compete with larger chains — and that’s true in any field. But in the lube industry, it can create an even bigger challenge than in other areas, because many car owners drift toward business names they recognize. The name of a company like ExxonMobil helps add legitimacy and a sense of quality control that a non-sponsored individual shop must fight harder to earn.

On the other hand, it’s important for any business owner to feel they are getting the most out of a strategic partnership. And that’s an area that Neuner said ExxonMobil had in mind with their Lube Express program.

“Not only will installers have the power of Mobil 1 products backing their service,” Neuner said, “but they will have the opportunity to participate in a number of Mobil-branded programs designed to help grow their businesses, including advertising and promotions, customer loyalty programs, financial support, software support, training and marketing.”

That support includes a variety of program features. Neuner said quick lube businesses that choose to join the Mobil 1 team can take advantage of:

Brand Awareness: “Mobil 1 is the world’s leading synthetic motor oil,” Neuner said. “By partnering with the Mobil 1 brand, installers benefit from ExxonMobil’s industry expertise and knowledge, leading technology and global reputation for quality.” In other words, good oil is crucial to getting customers in the door.

Marketing and Promotion Support:  This includes a variety of exclusive promotions from Mobil designed to bring in profits while helping customers keep the Mobil brand in mind for their vehicle’s maintenance needs.

National Advertising: Who doesn’t want help with publicity? Neuner pointed out ExxonMobil already spends millions of dollars each year on national advertising campaigns. For businesses using the Mobil 1 Lube Express branding, that means television, radio and print exposure that could help car owners select your shop for their next oil change.

Signage and Merchandise:  Naturally, signage is key to attracting customers, and Mobil 1 provides that, too — including point-of-purchase displays, apparel and merchandise.

Customer Loyalty Programs:  Neuner said Mobil 1 Lube Express loyalty programs include a credit card program and a warranty kit, the kind of support repeat customers appreciate.

Financial Support:  New Mobil 1 Lube Express operators are eligible to receive funding support based on their volume commitments of qualifying Mobil products.

The benefits of joining the Mobil 1 team are continuing to draw in new partnerships across the quick lube and auto maintenance industry. Currently, there are more than 320 facilities across the United States and Canada, with opportunities to see that number grow higher each year.

The Mobil 1 program is great for both startups and existing businesses looking to grow.

“Mobil 1 Lube Express operators can expect business support from ExxonMobil to help with startup, day-to-day operations and marketing of their Mobil 1 Lube Express facility,” Neuner said. “When existing quick lube center operators make the switch to Mobil 1 Lube Express, we help them every step of the way with reimaging and branding changes. Mobil 1 Lube Express locations receive unique brand treatment with eye-catching visuals to help attract new customers, and we also help them improve sales through attractive promotions, sales tools and technician training programs.”

Prasnikar agreed with Neuner’s assessment.

“Mobil 1 turned our average shop into a first-class operation, not only with the quality product, but also by putting a new sign out front, repairing the inside and providing premium advertising,” Prasnikar said. “The new additions to the shop helped us attract more drive-by customers. The signage stands out and makes customers want to visit us.”

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