[Atlas]PPG: Growing by winning new customers
Notwithstanding the difficulties of the past two years, PPG continues to gain ground in Europe. “Despite the lockdowns, we quickly put our sales forces back on the road and ended 2020 winning new customers” said Arnaud Racapé, Marketing Director, Automotive Refinish - South Europe at PPG Industries.
One of the keys to sales conquests is the MoonWalk automated paint preparation machine, which is set to exceed 1,000 units installed in Europe at the start of 2022, two and a half years after its launch. A tool that appeals to independent bodyshops (two-thirds of buyers), as well as dealers, used car reconditioning centres and distributors. The product savings and productivity gains generated speak to a wide range of garages.
“We are going to end 2021 on a good note, with market share gains throughout southern Europe with more than 1% in France and a little less in Italy, Spain and the rest of the region. Compared to 2020, we are posting increases in gross sales of between 20% and 35% depending on the country. But the increases in commodity prices have reduced the result in terms of margins”, he adds.
Limited price increases
If traffic has returned to the roads and accidents too, the uncertainty associated with Covid-19 and its consequences on the supply chain continues. “The prices of additives from our main supplier have increased by 35% as of December 2021. These increases are reckless and significant. We have gone beyond the stage of assessing the impacts of raw material price increases and are now looking for these raw materials. When new sources are found they are often more expensive. Since January, solvents have seen their price increase by 64%. The forecasts for energy price increases in the first half of 2022 are dire. And the inflation forecast for early 2022 is 2.3%” explains Arnaud Racapé.
As a result, PPG has had to increase its prices several times during the year, when it usually only applies one annual increase, like most paint manufacturers. “In June, we set the same increases in all our markets, varying according to the product families, though we limited the price increases for base colours to 7.5%. The context does not affect our growth forecasts, however, because we will continue to invest to gain market share” adds Arnaud Racapé.