‘Majority of lubricants in Nigeria are sub-standards’ MD Automaze, Michael Odunlami



In this interview with the Managing Director of Automaze, Michael Odunlami he dissects the huge challenge motorists and lubricant manufacturers face in Nigeria and what he believes is a remedy to it. He also speaks about the driving force and efforts of oil giant, Rymax in ensuring that the Nigerian market meet the standard in high quality production of lubricants.

Let’s meet Michael Odunlami
I am Michael ‘Lekan odunlami, the MD of Automaze Nationwide Llimited which is the representative of Rymax lubricants in Nigeria. I was educated in the United Kingdom, I returned to Nigeria some years ago to start a career in business and that was how Automaze started.  Automaze Limited is about 7 years old and our business is situated in Lagos. The business is centered on vehicle maintenance, repairs and lubricants.
To give you a brief history of Rymax lubricants, Rymax was founded in the 80s in the Netherlands with headquarters in Arnhem, Netherlands. The brand is relatively new given our vision but possesses great potentials to be a leading brand in the world. We engage in all lubricants ranging from automotive to Agricultural,Industrial, Aviation, Construction, Mining etc. though we only offer automotive lubricant in Nigeria currently. Rymax is presently in more than 30 countries of the world spread across 5 continents.
It is an independent oil company solely dedicated to producing high quality lubricants to meet the highest standard in the world. Our quest for excellence is the reason we go extra miles to exceed our customer expectation and needs through investment, research, training and constant innovations and we hope to expand our business to other sectors in the near future.


Why is lubricant the only product Rymax has in Nigeria?


lubricants is the core and only business at Rymax  in Holland which is why the company is able to focus on quality and constant innovation in the lubricants sector. We couldn’t offer any other product to Nigerians because lubricants is all that we do. Like I said earlier, we only focus on automotive lubricants in Nigeria. In this category we offer various grades of engine oil and ATF and very soon car care product like coolants and the rest. Our range of vehicle engine oils covers mineral oil, semi synthetic and full synthetic engine oils. The mineral oil comes in multi grade in SAE 20w/50 called “Scylla” in the Rymax brand, while semi synthetics come in SAE10w/40 called “posidon” under same brand and 5w/30  & 5w/40 in full synthetic grades called “Syrinx”. This might sound a little difficult knowing the difference between these products but the simple analogy is that the higher you go in the grades, the better for your vehicle in the areas of fuel efficiency, prevention of wear and tear as a result of less friction, avoidance of sludge build up in the engine and most importantly enhancing a healthy and long lasting engine in vehicles because of the quality of detergents and additives in the products. The notion by people that “oil is oil” is nothing but fallacy. Engine oils have TDS (technical data sheet) which explains the technical details and also MSDS (material and safety data sheet) are the information required to judge a good quality engine oil but I wouldn’t want to go into technical details at this juncture so I don’t bore you or the readers. In the area of ATF (automatic transmission fluid), we have various products available like Dexron III, Dexron VI and Dexron III FS .  In other to help our clients we direct them to our website where they can locate and locate Oil Advisor. This helps people to know the right lubricants for their vehicles. One would be asked to input the vehicle detail and then submit. In a matter of seconds, we are able to recommend the right engine oil as recommended by the vehicle manufacturers. 

The market is stiff with competition, what stands out Rymax from all the other lubricants?


It is true that the competition is stiff in the lubricants industry, but quality competition doesn’t exist, so Rymax is well placed. There are more than 200 different types of lubricants in the market especially in Trade fair. Majority of the products are sub standard and they actually cause more harm to your valuable than good. The importers or local producers of such product are benefitting from consumer ignorance that “oil is oil” by offering ridiculously low prices which makes neither business nor economic sense.  I remember seeing one product in a keg of a  25 litre groundnut oil keg. I do not know where the engine oil was blended but it was packaged in a 25 liter groundnut oil keg.  People were buying  because it was cheap and they believe “oil is oil”. Rymax is different because we set a standard for quality and the product is also very affordable.

The product used to be Rymco, when did the name change to Rymax and why?

Rymco has been around for about 28 years. The company started out in Holland but has presence in more than 30 countries in the world including Europe, South America, Middle East, Asia and Africa. Due to some issues with patent in some countries, Rymax was launched in January 2015 to replace Rymco.  The Rymax brand has come out with improved products, more products and enhanced opportunities. The changes are barely noticeable so there is no major change. The only major change is improvement on the quality of the result owing to more investment and research by our team of technical experts and engineers in the Netherlands.



.You represent Rymax in Nigeria, your product has been  in the country for two years, is there any plan by the company to expand its investment here?

Two years is a very short time in the life of a product and indeed a human being as it were. The plan  to expand is obviously in the picture. We believe in organic growth because it is more sustainable. We allow the product to prove its worth through referrals from clients.  The expansion will be gradual given that Rymax is not the cheapest brand in the market and because consumers are too price sensitive. So we aim to sensitize people especially vehicle owners and transporters on the need for good and quality lubricants.


How do you prevent people from duplicating Rymax products and what are the signs people should look out for when buying?


we have to look at the concept of “duplicating” in two fronts. People only duplicate or try to duplicate a successful product as opposed to failed ones even though this is annoyingly wrong but its then up to the company to be guarded in terms of protecting the brand. On the other hand it is a very sad situation because adulterators can never get the formula, packaging and the technical know how to blend the Rymax brand. What that means in a broader view is denting a good brand by such illegal action. We at Rymax are fully aware of this, hence a very high standard which is near impossible to duplicate. A wise adulterators would rather invest in his own brand than spending a huge sum of money in illegal act. On what to look out for to recognize the authentic Rymax, It is difficult to know fake when you don’t know what the original looks like. What I mean is that people only need to be vigilant when making purchases not only with Rymax but with other products in general. Adulterators will go miles in achieving their dubious acts but its left for consumers to be vigilant and inquisitive.  The only remedy we have is for people to visit our website and call if in doubt of authenticating the Rymax brand because we have controlled distribution network, we are able to say specifically where our products are. This is mainly because we deal directly with consumers. It is almost impossible to find us everywhere.

What can you call the driving force with Rymax?

The main driver is quality, we don’t compromise on that. Also our quest for excellence is evident in our product content, packaging and the way we do our things. Our products say a lot when you give them a close or distant look.  Another driving force is our customer oriented approach. We provide our customers with product support and tutelage because our business at Automaze includes repair and maintenance of vehicles, we not only know about lubricants, we are also genius and a major player in the vehicle repair industry. So we are inclined to the teeth when we talk of automotive needs.

7.What does the company set out to achieve in the Nigerian market?

Rymax through quality and sensitization hope to reach out to people who spend several millions buying vehicles (especially inter state transport companies) but end up lubricating the engines with sub standard engine oils. With enough awareness, we are positive consumers are able to make informed choices on their choice of lubricants. Being Kobo wise and Naira foolish is a mentality we need to address in the mindset of people. We obviously want to expand our market segment in the country but it has to be organic like I said earlier to allow for sustainability. Quality is well explained when you try our product. We not only provide good quality, we breathe and preach quality.