Add-it, manufactured and distributed in the UK by IML, had been the market leader in professional automotive wet consumables prior to its acquisition by chemicals giant Torday & Carlisle in 1995.
But according to Add-it marketing manager Jim Henry, the 38-product line-up has been doing little more than ticking over since the buyout, allowing the likes of Kent, Wurth and Forte to take control of the trade treatments sector.
“We were overtaken because we rested on our laurels. As a result, we've been virtually dormant since the '90s with a steady customer base of about 4,000 trade buyers,” says Henry. “But we're determined to regain our No 1 spot – and we intend to do that by growing in the franchised dealer market.”
Traditionally labelled “the liquid mechanic”, Henry now wants Add-it to become “the complete solution” for dealers by turning wet consumables into profit centres. He believes few garages take full commercial advantage of the day-to-day products used in service and maintenance with aftersales managers regarding items such as engine and radiator flushes as necessary evils and a drain on margins rather than a profit line.
Henry's solution is a partnership programme through which, he says, IML will survey and identify untapped profit opportunities, control the movement and profit of products, train and support dealership personnel in sales and health and safety and, ultimately improve the aftersales bottom line.
In addition to treatments and lubricants, Add-it produces vision products such as screen washes, de-icers, fresheners and glass cleaners. Under the partnership programme it also offers dealers branded valeting items such as cloths, sprays, washes and polishes using its in-house design print and packaging service to help customers retention.
“We are no longer a me-too company. We want to get people talking about us and we want franchised dealers in particular to know just how profitable Add-it can be,” says Henry.