The LIQUI MOLY team at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The LIQUI MOLY team at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

If you want to reach Sebastian Zelger, director LIQUI MOLY USA, at his office desk, good luck. He’s probably out meeting with customers face-to-face, which is the way he wants it.

We recently spoke to Zelger by phone about LIQUI MOLY’s recipe for finding success in the U.S. and around the world. And the recipe is pretty simple, according to Zelger: “Face-to-face time — this is very big for me, personally talking to people.”

At a time when productivity seems to be measured in keystrokes, emails and social media posts, Zelger is happiest out on the road. The company has invested in tech and tools to make sure Zelger and his colleagues aren’t tethered to an office desk. “I urge all our people to be out with the customers,” he said. “That’s the main goal. Don’t spend time behind the desk doing business expense reports.”

In fact, when we spoke to him, he’d just gotten off the road after a three-week-long trek around the United States.

“We know that sending emails to repair shops is not a very effective way to communicate with them about their needs,” Zelger said. The best way, he’s found, is to just ask them, one-on-one.

And he gets all sorts of questions during his visits. “Repair shops will ask us why we make so many oils,” Zelger said. “But it’s because the manufacturers are under increasing pressure to make engines more efficient, and that literally drives everything.”

Car manufacturers, under pressures of environmental legislation and other goals, are continually designing more fuel-efficient engines, in order to decrease CO2. The rules and regulations vary around the world, but in general, are becoming more stringent. “In Europe, we have restrictions about driving into certain cities because of it,” Zelger said.

These more fuel-efficient motors require very specific oils. Without that specific oil, you get a host of problems, including carbon build-up and the engine could fail, he said. “The future trend will continue to be the development of more specific oils. It’s all part of the development going on internationally,” he added.

“The gasoline and diesel products we offer in the United States and Canada are quite similar,” Zelger said. “For the oil side in Canada, there is a little more demand for European-specific products, especially in the east of Canada. In the U.S., the european market is promising as well. Total European makes in the U.S. currently are 21 million, going to 26 million in 2023. So, the market is growing for us.”

But it’s not all European-specific products for LIQUI MOLY, Zelger says. LIQUI MOLY is well-known for its European applications, but what many might not realize is that LIQUI MOLY has products for domestic cars, heavy-duty trucks and motorsports.

To highlight its domestic capabilities, Stevens-Miller Racing will use LIQUI MOLY lubricants and additives exclusively in its TA2 cars in The Trans Am Presented by Pirelli 2019 season.

Sign up to receive the weekly Aftermarket Intel Briefing newsletter here.

Join your colleagues in the global automotive aftermarket. Get the Aftermarket Intel Briefing, edited by Mark Phillips, AAP.

* indicates required