Lubricants is the lifeline of any engine be it automobile, buses, industry or even Rail and Aircraft. The lubricants industry is on the threshold of a major shake out as in recent times there had been a fairly large number of players both our home grown oil majors or multinational companies like Mobil, Exxon, Motul, Gulf Oil, Shell etc and the competition between them quite intense.
“The situation has witnessed vast changes right from the Nehru Era when lubricants was mostly regulated and controlled and subsequent deregulated by Dr Manmohan Singh in 1992. Post deregulation, lubricating Oil is available in abundance, the trade has become buoyant, healthy and expansive, creating a situation where restrictions still in force in West Bengal under Lubricating Oil Licensing Order, 1967, where such restrictions are unnecessary, unwarranted and more of a hindrance. In fact, all other states except West Bengal has withdrawn the control completely. In the current circumstances, where lubricating oil is freely available in the market with excess in supplies than demand, the said licensing order has lost its relevance. We from Lubricating Oil Distributors Association request the Hon’ble Minister present to kindly take up the issue with his colleague in the ministry.” said Sushil Poddar.
“Earlier, lubricants used to be changed frequently specially in buses and public transport but due to innovation in technology, now such lubricants has seen the light of the day where it needs to be changed just once in a year. This eco-friendly lubricants has changed the scenario completely. The role of such innovative lubricants has a big role to play in the public transport system as this will help in lowering of pollution level to a great extent. The Petrol Car Motor Oils have also seen tremendous advances with the introduction of new generation vehicles. The earlier MIL B multi-grades used in Ambassadors have given way to initially API-SF level oils and subsequently to SO level oils. The drain periods as explained here above have increased from earlier 5000 km to 20000 km.” adds Mr Poddar.
Recently the Indian market has also witnessed the introduction of API-SH and even SJ Oils which has made the lubricant availability ahead of the automotive engine requirements of the Indian vehicles. Fortunately, the friendly policies of the Central Government in terms of import tariffs on base oils and also the stable world prices have enabled the lubricant manufacturers to bring these beneficial products to market at marginally increased prices but with significant value additions .
The intense competition in the market has also brought about beneficial changes in packaging and merchandising. The lubricants manufacturers have also increased their levels of advertising and sales promotion to communicate the benefits of their products and make them more visible in the market. The advantage of this has surely also been felt by the lubricant trade which has expanded significantly in the last five years.
The automotive sector comprises almost 65 % of the country’s lubricant demand of which the diesel segment is approx 60 %. So, there is need to innovate motor oils more to help diesel vehicles reduce emissions and thus save our planet..
“The future will probably see the balance of the market and its value shifting from lubricant as a product to lubrication as a service as has happened in developed countries. In this lies the essential role of the manufacturers and the trade, which shall be the key to customer satisfaction and loyalty.” signs off Mr Poddar.