Castrol/BP and the owners of Wakefield Canada are banking on their entrepreneurial approach to serving the Canadian market paying off, for them, for their product and for their customers.
As of July 1, Wakefield Canada takes over as Castrol Canada’s Canadian-based and privately owned strategic partner for sales, marketing and distribution operations. The move is Castrol and Wakefield’s way of trying to better serve and grow the Canadian market – the heavy duty segment being a key target – said company officials at a press conference held in Toronto.
“Castrol is the leading passenger car motor oil and brand in Canada, however the entire lubricant market is mature and increasingly competitive,” explained Bob MacDonald, formerly of Castrol Canada, and now president and major shareholder of Wakefield. “To increase its share further, Castrol sought a domestic partner with the ability to have more focus on the needs of the Canadian market and its customer base.”
Castrol found this partner right in its own backyard, namely in the person of MacDonald, who officially retired form his position as CEO of BP Consumer Lubricants North America in June 2004. He and Kent Rennie (hitherto GM for Castrol Canada and vice president of sales and marketing) teamed up to create the new company, which is composed of all the managers, marketing sales and distribution, who were previously with Castrol Canada.
“It’s certainly a revolutionary approach when you consider that in today’s marketplace the trend is towards either downsizing or mergers and acquisition,” said MacDonald. Over the past two decades many U.S. headquartered companies have chosen to handle their Canadian marketing through U.S. channels. Castrol is bucking that trend and the heavy duty market is among the prime areas where the company hopes to grow its business as result.
According to Rennie, the company is planning to add four new hires to serve this area by July.
And MacDonald says the new Canadian focussed company will be able to improve upon its service regionally, given that much of the heavy duty business is rural.
In short, Castrol’s Canadian customers, commercial and consumer alike, should find an organization well greased to quickly respond to their needs from the get go.
“Basically we’d like the transition to be seamless,” said MacDonald. “On July 1, the customer will be getting a bill of lading with Wakefield at the top rather than Castrol Canada.”
Manufacturing, however, will remain the responsibility of Castrol Canada, MacDonald hastened to add.
“Castrol Canada will continue to operate as the manufacturer for the products we market and distribute,” said MacDonald.
Wakefield and Castrol have a 20-year contract, so the company won’t be marketing or distributing for competing brands, MacDonald stressed.
But there is a possibility that in the future the company could take on the distribution and marketing of complimentary products, such as filters, officials at the conference hinted.
Until then, be prepared to see Wakefield Canada at the top of your bill of lading, the next time an order of Castrol heavy-duty products arrives.