Is your car Ziebarted?
Translation: did you invest in a Ziebart rustproofing package from your dealer or a Ziebart franchise business when you bought your last car or truck?
Wait. When was the last time you actually purchased/leased a new vehicle?
I’m A Fan
I leased a VW Tiguan (3.5 years ago) from my high school buddy, Pat.
I’ve been a fan of leasing since I was in the automobile franchising business. I like the concept. A lot of smart, wealthy people say “Buy what appreciates and lease what depreciates.” And considering the fact that automobiles instantly lose their value (they depreciate) once they’re driven off the showroom floor, it makes sense.
That’s the major reason why I lease. Plus I like having a new car every 3 years or so.
And as an added bonus, my vehicle remains under the manufactures warranty for the entire portion of my lease.
What does that have to do with Ziebart?
My VW wasn’t Ziebarted.
More specifically, I didn’t opt to add a rustproofing package to my car when I signed my lease papers.
As a matter of fact, I wasn’t offered a rustproofing package when I sat in the finance office at Eastside VW. Why?
Because a 2019 VW Tiguan isn’t going to rust during the 39 months I’m leasing it. Well, it better not.
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Fact is, even if my lease was a 48 month lease-or longer (which I don’t recommend), I would never consider buying a rustproofing package from my dealer or from the closest Ziebart franchisee.
Reason being, today’s automobile manufactures are making better vehicles and are providing longer warranties…including rust-through warranties.
That said, there’s really no need to purchase a rustproofing package-unless you plan on keeping your vehicle for 10+ years.
So much for Ziebart franchises.
Ziebart Franchise History
In 1954, Kurt Ziebart, a master mechanic from Germany, developed a scientific process called rustproofing, the first successful method of protecting an automobile from corrosion.
Using Ziebart’s chemical method, car owners could protect the metallic body of their vehicles from rust caused by rain, snow, and ice. The first store, bearing the proprietary Ziebart name, was opened on Harper Avenue in Detroit in 1959 to rustproof automobiles. The system proved popular, particularly in the Great Lakes states, where the salt mixture sprayed on the roads during the winters caused rusting, as well as in coastal areas where the salt air encouraged rust.
Finally, Ziebart started franchising (in the 1960’s), and to date, they have 400 locations worldwide.
Ziebart is Not Giving Up
According to Thomas E Wolfe, President and CEO of Ziebart:
“The automotive aftermarket industry is growing, both in recognition and sustainability. The sector is valued at 390 billion as of 2020, and continues to present opportunities to grow as a service company as a result of the tech, automation and adaptability of vehicles.”
But rustproofing? C’mon. Who buys it?
No rustproofing = no sales.
Not according to an article I read over at Crain’s Detroit Business:
“Over time, Ziebart has diversified from its rustproofing roots into several other aftermarket services — detailing, glass repair, diamond gloss paint protection, remote starters and other accessories.”
I had no idea-and I’m in franchising.
More from Crain’s:
“Today, Ziebart offers 29 different products, including Z Shield paint protection, across its various stores and “processing centers” — car dealers, body shops and others that also offer its services.”
The Ziebarted Franchise Lesson
This lesson is an easy one.
Get ahead of the market. Think about what’s coming down the pike. Follow the trends.
And as of this writing, it looks like Ziebart has done just that. I hope your franchisees are reaping the benefits of the direction the company has taken.
Because that’s what it’s all about.
Having lots of profitable, happy franchisees.
So what are you going to do when someone asks you “What happened to Ziebart?