- Created: 21 January 2011
It was the additive invented by a German that started the victory march of Flashlube
It was more than 30 years ago. But who would have thought that a German would be responsible for the unrestricted driving pleasure afforded by the no. 1 alternative fuel? Wolfgang Kluenner, a much-decorated scientist and member of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO), invented the path breaking LPG additive for the world market at the Monash University in Melbourne towards the end of 1979. The now aged inventor first marketed his product himself before selling his small company in 1995 to Frank Hutchinson (Don Kyatt Group).
The deal is unusual from today's standpoint but path breaking nonetheless. In the early 'eighties LPG did not occupy the same important place in the world automobile market as it does today. Even strong markets like Turkey, South Korea and Poland did not have as many LPG vehicles as today. Frank Hutchinson, a businessman from the Australian state of Victoria, recognised the potential and made Kluenner a good offer which the latter accepted as he needed to care for his sick wife. To market Wolfgang Kluenner's product more intensively worldwide, Hutchinson founded Flashlube Tty Limited in Melbourne in 1995.
Starting Down Under, sales started growing rapidly from 1995 onwards. After Australia came South America, South East Asia and finally Europe – including Germany after a slight delay. Due to its penetration in the market, many competitors felt challenged to intensify their marketing efforts. The real effect of Flashlube was meant to unfold "quick as a flash" on valve seats and valve seat rings, which is why he chose the name "Flashlube" in 1979.
Further additives followed
The Don Kyatt Group, under whose aegis Flashlube worked, came out with six further additives which were likewise marketed worldwide; but none of these had the same penetration as the LPG additive and later the Valve Saver Kit. According to Hutchinson, even Germany has several sales outlets which will be further strengthened in light of the expected increase in competition. This new company policy is reflected in the fact that the European restructuring function has been taken over by Frank's son Brent Hutchinson. The sales head office for Europe has now been shifted to the French Provence. And Flashlube is participating in trade fairs in partnership with Australian automotive firms – this is what happened at the Automechanika Fair in Frankfurt, for example.
Even though the European market does not yet appear to be exhausted, Hutchinson sees the future market for its products in China, India, Vietnam, Canada and – surprisingly – the US.