XPEL Selected as Exclusive Supplier to Rivian Automotive

XPEL, a global provider of protective films and coatings, announced that they have been selected as the exclusive supplier to Rivian Automotive for their new paint protection film (PPF) factory direct program.

By the terms of the agreement, Rivian Automotive will offer factory direct PPF options to its customers ordering their new R1T and R1S models beginning late 2022. Customers will be able to choose between two PPF option packages: front gloss paint guard or full body satin paint guard. The paint guard packages have been developed cooperatively between XPEL and Rivian’s vehicle engineering and design teams to enhance the adventures of R1T and R1S owners, according to the release. XPEL will operate an installation facility in close proximity to Rivian’s Normal, Ill., assembly plant to ensure installation quality control.

“We’re pleased to have this opportunity to bring our proprietary design methodology and state-of-the-art paint protection films to Rivian customers as the exclusive supplier of factory direct PPF for their R1T and R1S vehicles,” says Tim Hartt, vice president – technical operations and OEM of XPEL. “We are the leader in advanced OEM level PPF solutions and we look forward to leveraging our experience as a tier one supplier working with premium automotive brands, to introduce XPEL products to Rivian and their customers.”

A Minute With Expert Wrapper Jeremiah Bienko

Tune in to hear what Jeremiah Bienko says about the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT)—how it has placed his business on “the map” and the overall success and following he has gained. Bienko will present three different demonstration sessions at the event, including wrapping a luxury car! Take advantage of these fantastic tips from one of the top figures in the wrap industry.

WFCT will be held September 14-16 at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio. Join industry leaders and sign-up for WFCT TODAY!

Helping Hands: FilmDirect Distributes Relief to Ukraine

FilmDirect of Brieselang, Germany, finds itself doling out more than industry products this spring. The Legend Paint Protection Film distributor is a mere 882 miles from Kyiv, Ukraine, a country under siege and in need of humanitarian aid. Owner Owen Lloyd and his team answered the call for help.

FilmDirect’s initial operation outgrew the company’s warehouse.

“Ukraine is about a seven-hour drive from where our company is located—we’re pretty close,” Lloyd says. “I was thinking, ‘There’s nowhere in our local area where people can donate essential items.’ I posted a notice on a local Facebook webpage: ‘If you want to donate, you can come to our company and drop off stuff at the warehouse.’”

Locals turned up within hours, with distant philanthropists delivering unannounced care via Amazon. “We did that for a week until it got to the stage where it was too much to manage and do our daily jobs,” Lloyd adds. “I then went to the local city hall [for coordination]. They gave us an empty building, and I organized 50 volunteers on Facebook for management. We’re open every day; so far, we’ve sent two lorry [truck] loads to Poland and Ukraine.”

*FilmDirect’s Collected Items

Sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping pads
Foodstuffs
Baby food
First aid kits
Medicine
Hygiene (child/ baby)
Underwear (ladies/children)
Hygiene items
Baby equipment
Disposable tableware
Walking aids, rollators, wheelchairs
Pet food
Batteries, flashlights
Candles
Beverages

*Depending on the needs, the donations are sent directly to the Ukraine/Poland border region.

According to the United Nations, 3.6 million people had left Ukraine as of March 27. Poland has taken in 2,293,833, or 63.7%, of all refugees. “We found a local transport company that puts a trailer in a yard, and once it’s full, they take it free of charge into Poland for us,” Lloyd explains. “It’s quite incredible because the price of gas has gone up worldwide.”

FilmDirect’s delivery arriving in Poland, a country in dire need of assistance.

Legend Paint Protection Film’s Kyiv-based distributor is also making an impact—on the battlefield. “They are using their vans to deliver food and medicine to people in Kyiv,” Lloyd says. “They’re also wrapping military vehicles in camouflage. We bought them bulletproof vests and helmets; while they’re delivering [aid], they could be caught in the crossfire.”

Lloyd says 10 Ukrainian families are located in the area, and all are welcome to pick up supplies if needed. His country is partnered with a NATO alliance that includes 30 independent member countries, but uncertainty abounds.

“It’s a feeling we’ve never had—something you would never foresee happening,” he says of Russia’s February 24 invasion.

Research Report: Trends in Window Film and PPF

Window film companies know that business is booming—because many shops are as busier as ever. The data bears that out as well, even though research shows that consumer sentiment still has some recovering to do. Nick St. Denis, director of research at Key Media & Research (WINDOW FILM magazine’s parent company), discussed demand and trends in the window film and paint protection film market during a recent presentation held during the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™.

St. Denis noted that consumer sentiment in the U.S., according to the University of Michigan’s longstanding survey of consumers, in the second and third quarters of 2020 was at its lowest point in nearly a decade.

“Consumer sentiment is a strong indicator to look at regarding aftermarket accessories and alterations to vehicles, as well as improvements to a home or building,” he said. “When consumers are comfortable with their financial standing and the economy in general, they’re more likely to spend on discretionary things such as PPF for their vehicle or window film on their home.”

The Index of Consumer Sentiment, which measures this, has partially recovered as of the second quarter of 2021 but still has a ways to go.

Fortunately, several other indicators closer to the industry—including personal consumption expenditures of motor vehicles and parts, as well as retail sales of automotive parts and accessories—have been booming since late 2020 and through the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, new vehicles sales have improved to start the year.

St. Denis discussed data related to residential improvements. He said that despite the economic downturn last year due to the pandemic, homeowner improvements and repairs remained strong throughout 2020, improving nearly 6% year-over-year with a similar expected increase in the year ahead. This, he said, is a good sign for architectural window film.

St. Denis wrapped up the session discussing some anecdotes from articles and qualitative research by KMR and Window Film magazine, looking back at the pandemic’s impact. “For many dealers in the industry, elevated sales in the first quarter of 2020 and a rebound in the third and fourth helped offset the downturn that mainly impacted the second quarter,” he said. “But those in areas with stricter restrictions had a more difficult time making up for losses.”

Some dealers also reported an uptick in demand due to nearby competitors shutting down. “There was a general increase in residential work with people working from home, he said. “And businesses also took the opportunity to upgrade with window film while employees were away.”

Looking ahead, a rise in sales of vehicle accessories and residential improvements should bode well for window film, and continued increase in consumer awareness along with an increase in new car sales provides opportunity in PPF.

“Security film for downtown businesses may be a strong prospect for dealers moving forward,” he added.