Worldwide refinish market: an activity that is more promising than ever

Romain Thirion
PPG EMEA signs with Garac

The two-year inflationary wave that followed the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian intervention in Ukraine appears to be over. In 2023, the paint market has returned to greater stability in terms of prices, although differences persist.

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Jim Muse, Vice President of Global Sales at Axalta Refinish tells us, “In the EMEA region, Poland and Turkey, for example, have faced inflation levels well above those in the United States. Globally, we have had to monitor inflation levels and take action to avoid the costs associated with this reality.” The sourcing challenges for raw materials that manufacturers faced a year ago are now a thing of the past. Muse adds that “2021 and 2022 were very difficult years from a sourcing point of view. Despite some lingering issues in some logistics areas, 2023 has been much better – not quite normal but very close.”

Some manufacturers, like General Paint, resolved the issues at the beginning of 2022 when shortages of raw materials ceased. “However, it took time to return to a normal production rate, which is planned for 2024”, as highlighted by Isaac Corm, Operations Manager of the Lebanese firm.

Good looking paint

In an accident repair market that will not suffer the loss of activity linked to the transition to electricity, appetites are growing. Particularly at the American giant in the distribution of spare and reused parts, LKQ, which completed the acquisition of the American specialist paint distribution network FinishMaster in February 2023, included in the takeover of the Canadian generalist Uni-Select, with the transaction amounting to $2.1 billion.

“In the United States, Uni-Select, through its own subsidiary FinishMaster, operates more than 145 integrated stores [and] supports more than 30,000 customers annually”, noted the distribution group. In fact, the brand has nearly 200 outlets today. If proof were needed of the appeal of paint distribution for independent groups, no other news could be more telling.

Innovation at work

The demand for products and especially services in the bodywork market, continues unabated. This is evidenced by the development of semi-automatic or automatic paint preparation for greater preci sion and productivity. After PPG and its MoonWalk, released in 2019, which has since sold more than 2,000 units in Europe and is now deployed on six continents and around forty countries, the Axalta Irus Mix was launched in May 2023.

The American manufacturer designed the fully automatic device, with Santint Europe and is exclusive distributor. Equipped with innovative bottles, the machine is now in place at several European body shops and distributors. In the meantime, even aftermarket manufacturers have got involved. Besa with Alfa, the Italian specialist in automation solutions, for the Sinnek brand. And General Paint with Santint as well, within its GenLink ecosystem.

Romain Thirion
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