We visited Lexus USA, home of the Lexus North America Head Quarters to help us better understand the latest innovations in automotive clear coast. As professional auto detailers we must know our customers cars and finishes. We are continually studying the different materials and automotive finishes on vehicles to determine the best after market auto waxes and polishes to use to prolong life and crate the most brilliance in shine and reflection.
When we visit such corporate HQs we always have tons of questions to ask executives and research people about upcoming trends, innovations and things that will affect the market. Usually it is a difficult task, because such companies are not likely to answer all your questions due to secrecy needed to compete at that level. Sometimes you can learn information, by which questions they will not answer, which questions they dodge and which questions they answer only half way. Information gathering is difficult and Japanese Companies are some of the closest guarded companies for secrets in the free world. We are finding information at Starbucks Coffee talking to workers and at parties during dealer introductions to new models, events, which we often invite ourselves too. Professional Party Crasher comes to mind for those who understand college life, but in the real world being in the right place at the right time keeps our team in the winner’s circle.
Since the year 2000 billions of dollars have been poured into research and development by the Japanese Auto Makers due to the value of the Yen dropping against the Dollar causing higher profits during pre-911 quarters of 2001. Today of course we see an opposite trend as the dollar has slid against other world currencies. As the Yen went down against the dollar re-invested research money started to show itself in the market as Lexus’s new SUVs came out with all-wheel drive and soon the fuel cells will be on the scene to replace many of the hybrid test markets of 2000-2002 and 2003 and 2004. As these companies continue to innovate and we as consumers buy these new features we will find a growing need to learn more information faster to keep up with the changes. It will not be easy.
We, as auto detailing professionals must persevere in our efforts to attain the latest data and learn of the newest materials to be used in future cars so that we can be prepared to deliver excellence in service to all our customers.
As many auto professionals know in the auto body, car washing, auto after market accessory and detailing industries, that Lexus has one of the best finishes of any production automobile. Nine years ago when Lexus began to produce their luxury sedans with a “Pearl White” laser painted and oven baked paint job we rushed to the scene to find a wax that would preserve and enhance this finish. We had tried everything from self proclaimed Teflon waxes which purported a 3 year guarantee from DuPont to Silicon waxes which the aviation industry had actually banned as per FARs (federal Aviation Regulations) on certain paint such as Poly Urethane and Imron (Originally used on F-14’s by the US Navy for Salt Water Resistance). Imron, Poly Urethane and other specialized paints needed to breath and sealing the paint caused corrosion by trapping in moisture. Some things you learn the hard way. We also learned that the makers of Teflon Waxes falsely claimed a guarantee by DuPont. Dupont did guarantee its coatings on pots and pans for three years but only when applied at oven temperatures of over 275 Degrees F. Of course that was impossible since that would have melted all of the rubber seals, tires, windshield wipers and probably have burned down the car itself. Not exactly good customer service and it would probably get you into trouble at the BBB-Better Business Bureau.
Many great waxes and products have been found to work on Enamel, Urethane, Lacquer, Fiber Glass and all clear coats, and when you find one you’ll know you have a winner by the reflective depth of the shine. Our company the Detail Guys (www.detailguys.com ) had found many such products over the years and one in fact that we really are fond of. Question was could this product enhance the already nearly perfect paint jobs of Lexus Luxury cars, if so, it would be unstoppable. And it did, it also removed surface scratches, road tar, rust from chrome, swirl marks (from competition detailing mistakes) and oxidation; something that none of us expected or were even trying for. The product was later featured in Popular Hot Rodding, Drive, Truckin’, Muscle Cars, Porsche Owners and Auto Enthusiast Magazines.
This case study is just one example of why all professional auto detailers must continually check out new innovations in auto paint, materials, composites and manufacturing processes to stay leading edge with State of the Art products. It is not every day when you can be on either leading edge of such innovations in the market place. Most professional auto detailers do agree that sometimes you have to look past the hype of the products and see for yourself. Lexus of North America has limited tours and so do other major manufacturers, we have found in our travels that their PR departments will find out the answers to all your questions when you contact them. Every once in a while they will not divulge information, but it does not hurt to ask. Also remember a little experimentation goes along way to unlocking the secrets of today’s modern detailing professional. Think on it.