Eastman Details Matrix Films Acquisition

By Chris Collier

Eastman Chemical Company has acquired the business and assets of Matrix Films, LLC, and its UK affiliate, PremiumShield Limited, marketer of PremiumShield performance films, including its extended line of automotive film patterns. The deal was finalized on October 1, and Erin Bernhardt, general manager, Performance Films, says the acquisition fortifies the company’s current investments. In fact, the main driver for the deal is “the runway of growth” available for PPF and Eastman’s commitment to be a leader in product and service innovation, she says. Couple that with the experience and expertise at PremiumShield, their great reputation and an organization that has helped grow the awareness of PPF in the market, and it’s a great fit for Eastman, adds Bernhardt.

“PremiumShield is a strategic acquisition that fits well in both the current and future strategy for Eastman’s Performance Films business,” Bernhardt says. “PremiumShield has an extensive and high-quality automotive pattern database. They also have talent and leadership experience in a number of areas where we continue to invest—technical services, pattern development, and training in business and dealer operations. It’s very complementary to our Eastman organization.”

She adds that the historical patterns PremiumShield possesses are complementary and attractive to Eastman as well. “They have a broad catalog of high-quality automotive patterns from past years’ make/model/trims that extends the CORE™ pattern database so that we have the best coverage in the industry going forward,” Bernhardt says.

Paint protection film (PPF) market trends, and potential for growth, played a key role in the acquisition.

“PPF penetration on premium and mid-tier [cars] is around 5% globally with a lot of room for growth,” Bernhardt says. “Our goal is to help our customers grow the size of the market and their business share by growing from say 5% penetration to 15 to 20% penetration in those mid to high-end car segments. Quality patterns and cutting software as well as well-trained installation labor can increase shop efficiency. These are essential for high volume shops or those looking to grow their businesses.”

Bernhardt says the company aims to strengthen and expand PremiumShield’s PPF lineup with its window film portfolio. “We think that, through [their] dealer network, we will be able to bring forward window films and a broader product line alongside what PremiumShield had, which  was predominantly paint protection film.”

Now that the acquisition is finalized, the immediate goal centers on stable onboarding where the teams can cross-share strategies, processes and key dealer services like training techniques. The Eastman team is also in the process of launching CORE™ patterns and operating software into Europe and Asia, to which this acquisition helps accelerate.

SEMA Connects Ceramic Pro and Carfax

Automotive companies benefit from trade shows in various ways. Ceramic Pro Americas and Carfax began developing the Appearance Protection Service Reporting (APSR) feature during a 2016 connection at SEMA. After an initial meeting and 18 months of research, the two companies created a data-sharing partnership that helps document installation services and cover warranties—tools that both companies say have grown beyond initial expectations.

Each of Ceramic Pro’s protective solutions, whether interior or exterior coatings or films, are backed by a warranty attached to the vehicle’s VIN, making it transferable to future owners. This has fostered trust, according to Brett Benito, CEO of Ceramic Pro Americas.

“When we collaborated with Carfax to establish the APSR service at the SEMA show in 2016, our goal was to provide added transparency and value to car owners choosing Ceramic Pro protective coatings,” Benito says. “The reporting not only documented that the vehicle continued to be warrantied but credited the auto salon completing the work. It allowed our network of installers to improve transparency and establish trust with their dedicated customers.”

Vehicle owners increasingly pay attention to the overall condition of their daily drivers and collectible cars, according to the company. Professionally-installed ceramic coatings and paint protection film (PPF) fall into categories of interest.

“Our ceramic coating and paint protection film warranties are transferable as each package is linked with the VIN,” says Benito. “If the vehicle is sold, or relocated, the new owner can visit our website to determine which of our certified installation centers to bring their vehicle for scheduled maintenance in their area or apply Ceramic Pro products on their new vehicle.”

The program became an indirect marketing tool for Ceramic Pro’s 3,500 auto salons. It also provided customers with peace of mind. Today, nearly every major manufacturer of professional-grade nano-ceramic coatings and PPF in the U.S. utilizes the Carfax APSR tool, according to the company.

“At Ceramic Pro Americas, we strive to be the trendsetters in our industry, and the collaboration with Carfax is arguably the best example of putting this concept into action,” says Benito.

Product News

ULTRAFIT Launches New Paint Protection Film

ULTRAFIT has launched Black Carbon PPF, the latest addition to the ULTRAFIT XP Series PPF that already includes films with three unique
visuals: clear gloss, retro matte and black gloss. The new product features nano-ceramic topcoat technology that preserves the rich black color and design features of the 3D carbon fiber. The product combines durability, performance, ideal chemical and mechanical resistance and self-healing properties, according to the company.

Chris Collier is the assistant editor for PPFMag. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook or at ccollier@glass.com.

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