castrol response(give you guys something to talk about)

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556
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Michigan
"You may have seen an article by Patrick Bedard in the November 2000 issue of Car & Driver or his article on-line, which, unfortunately, makes several incorrect and misleading statements about Castrol SYNTEC. Mr. Bedard’s article rehashes a five year old controversy between Castrol and a major competitor. In 1998, Castrol upgraded SYNTEC, by switching to a new and specially engineered hydroisomerized base stock. Before we made the change, we conducted an extensive proprietary testing program that proved that the new hydroisomerized base stock allowed us to blend a synthetic product that was superior to the old PAO base stock formula. This was challenged by a competitor who was a major manufacturer of PAO base stock, before the NAD (National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau). This resulted in a rejection of our competitor’s position when the NAD, relying on industry standards and the extensive expert testimony of leading scientists here and in Europe, completely upheld our position. After months of study, the NAD agreed that SYNTEC is fully synthetic. As the NAD found, the assumption of our competitor that there is only one way to formulate a synthetic motor oil is wrong. No two conventional motor oils, synthetic blends or full synthetic motor oils are formulated exactly the same way. Motor oil manufacturers have different formulation philosophies: We are proud to say that Castrol’s philosophy is one of continual innovation, leading-edge technology, and ultimate performance. Please see as follows some of the significant mistakes included in the article 1. SYNTEC is made with “petroleum base stock” SYNTEC is not made with petroleum base stock. Just as PAO is derived from complex chemical reactions starting with ethylene gas, SYNTEC’s base stock is synthesized using sophisticated processes and chemical reactions. The molecular structures of the starting compounds are fundamentally altered to produce a fluid with vastly improved properties capable of attaining the highest levels of formulated synthetic lubricant performance. 2. PAO results in a more stable fluid, with low temperature flow, and resistance to boiling off and oxidation The inference here is that SYNTEC’s base stock does not provide these properties, which it does. SYNTEC’s performance standards in these areas is unsurpassed. It meets the toughest industry standards. 3. SYNTEC’s base stock costs half as much as the competitor’s Mr. Bedard quotes a statement from Lubricants World that does not pertain to the base stock Castrol buys for SYNTEC. In truth, Mr. Bedard has absolutely no information about the production costs of our product. SYNTEC’s formulation is made of the highest quality synthetic base oils, plus very specific additives, which together deliver the superior qualities consumer’s look for in synthetic oils. 4. The industry credentials listed on SYNTEC’s label are “beside the point for U.S passenger cars” The list of industry credentials that SYNTEC passes are extremely relevant to the ultimate quality of the oil, and thus the advanced protection provided to SYNTEC users. These credentials are further evidence that SYNTEC provides the highest level of performance available. SYNTEC is engineered to surpass the minimum performance levels specified by U.S auto makers for the mass market. 5. The only performance claim that would “have real meaning” for consumers is extended oil life Castrol has extensive experience with the real needs of the motor oil consumer. Consumers continue to tell us that the most important things they are looking for are advanced performance and protection for their engines – precisely the package SYNTEC delivers. 6. The statement on the SYNTEC label, that SYNTEC “exceeds” industry standards does not indicate that it also meets them. A product that “exceeds” a standard meets it, and that’s the case with SYNTEC. We would never claim to exceed any industry standards that we did not actually meet. Castrol not only continues to stand by the high quality of the SYNTEC formula, but also the high quality of the relationship we have with our consumers. The issues that Mr. Bedard attempts to raise were fully considered – and resolved in our favor – after a full hearing before the NAD. We regret that Mr. Bedard ignored or misunderstood that record and chose not to work with Castrol to get the real story. We trust that you and other knowledgeable consumers will not be misled by his article. Also in the June 2000 issue of Car & Driver, Mr. Bedard offered the following retraction – “My November column included a quote about synthetic oil that “debuted with miraculous demonstrations of it’s protection” but actually caused premature engine wear. Car and Driver has learned that this criticism of the product is completely untrue. The magazine and I regret the error.” Also, as to our German made 0w-30 product, Castrol produces and utilize formulas from various sources, including North America and Europe depending on the product, performance and component sourcing. Products may vary in raw materials as a result of the regional production facility. However, the end performance met whether API or ACEA, is still the same. Formulations meeting European standards can be sourced from the US or Europe. It all comes down the most efficient way to supply the product to market taking into consideration development and supply chain logistics. The performance specifications on the bottle may read differently as American Standard testing varies from European testing. Formulations meeting European standards can be sourced from the US or Europe. It all comes down the most efficient way to supply the product to market taking into consideration development and supply chain logistics. The decision for 0W-30 to be sourced from Germany is based upon the most efficient supply logistics. Both the SLX 0w-30 formula produced in Germany and the Castrol SYNTEC 0w-30 formula produced in North America meet the same performance specifications." Castrol Consumer Relations 1-800-462-0835 [email protected]
 
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8,937
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SC
This is probably one of the better and more well thought out responses I've seen from an oil company regarding its product. The point about the "cost" of the base oil is interesting. When Castrol made the switch to Group III, the only base oil they were using was Shell's XHVI sourced in Europe. Unlike typical hydrocraced (HC) Group IIIs, XHVI is a wax isomerate and from what I understand is quite a bit more expensive to produce than HC base oils, largely due to the low yield from the slack wax feedstock. Shell is gradually moving production of XHVI away from solvent extracted slack wax as the feedstock to synthetic GTL waxy raffinate. IMO, a base oil produced using a feedstock that is itself the product of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis qualifies as a "true synthetic" in every respect. I do take issue, however, with the statement that the US made 0w30 Syntec meets the same specs as the German product. I don't think anyone has ever seen a bottle of the domestic 0w30 that listed the same specs on the back as the German stuff.
 
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764
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Fairfield County, CT
quote:
3. SYNTEC’s base stock costs half as much as the competitor’s Mr. Bedard quotes a statement from Lubricants World that does not pertain to the base stock Castrol buys for SYNTEC. In truth, Mr. Bedard has absolutely no information about the production costs of our product. SYNTEC’s formulation is made of the highest quality synthetic base oils, plus very specific additives, which together deliver the superior qualities consumer’s look for in synthetic oils.
Shell's excellent Group III synthetic costs much less than Group III Syntec, just $12.88 for 4 quarts. Notice that they never specifically state what it costs to produce Group III Syntec relative to the old PAO formulation of Syntec. (or relative to M1 PAO) And yet they still sell their Group III oil for the same price (usually higher) They effectively dodge the question with blah blah like "highest quality" and "superior qualities". I hate this double-speak, it sounds like a politician's words. They use a lot of words and yet THEY SAY NOTHING. blah blah blah!! [Mad] [Mad] [Mad] [Thumbs Down!] [ October 17, 2003, 02:11 AM: Message edited by: quadrun1 ]
 
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BC, Canada
No, the true cost of a base oil includes the price devoloping the technology and building the new refineries. The wholesale price of the various base oils and other products reflect the net yeild efficiency, supply, and demand. If the base oil groups were priced from a performance prespective only, the wholesale cost group III base oils (not the finished lubricants) would be about 90-95% the price of group IV.
 
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324
Location
California
Most oil companies, especially large ones like Castrol, Mobil, QS, Valvoline, Chevron, are on the market to MAKE MONEY. This is the only reason. They don't give a **** about your satisfaction with their motor oil as long as you continue to buy it. Why have such huge (and stupid) customer service departments like Mobil & Castrol? Only reason is to persuade that their product is the best, no matter what the product is. Advertisement is the engine of the market - as one smart person said. Equal to or outperform PAO, huh. Why not post data sheet on your product online like Mobil, Amsoil, Redline, Chevron, or even QS. Experts from US and Europe proved... Yea, right! Same experts from research institutes and academia which are financed by the same oil companies. I think that the whole switch to group III synthetics was pushed by several oil companies. Castrol only was heading the herd. They all had an interest in that. (Or it might be just a conspiracy theory [Smile] ) Search and read “Case #3526 Mobil vs. Castrol“ to see what facts Mobil presents about Castrol formulation change. If you still believe in Castrol crap read papers (available online for free, do a Google search): - The Evolution of Base Oil Technology - THE SYNTHETIC NATURE OF GROUP III BASE OILS - Influence of group III base oil composition on VI and oxidation stability I understand that there is nothing wrong with using group III base oil in your engine. I just don't like the idea of paying $4-$5/quart for the product which cost something like $2 (I don't have the facts, just thinking that its the right figure. I'm sure not a single oil company will release product production price information or profit they are getting off that.) Who knows what Castrol puts in their German 0W-30? Has anyone done a detailed base oil analysis on it to see what basestocks it has? I know there was a post here earlier about possibility of doing such analysis in general, but someone mentioned that it would cost something like $200-300. I personally don't know anything about oil analysis and interpretation. So someone with more knowledge have to fill in. Regards,
 
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3,705
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Chattanooga, TN
In the reply to question number one I guess I would like to know what the starting compounds are? This sounds like a little double talk in the response, if not petroleum what are the compounds? [ October 17, 2003, 07:24 AM: Message edited by: Spector ]
 
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South Jersey
I will never buy from a company like this. pscholte, you can have all the GC you like. [Smile] [ October 17, 2003, 08:25 AM: Message edited by: buster ]
 

Al

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19,252
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Elizabethtown, Pa
They effectively dodged by using "doublespeak" the points in #1 (petroleum base stocks)-true the product is not "made from" as in "contains"-but it started out as a petroleum base. In #2 the work their way from low temperature performance is not as good as a PAO to- "SYNTEC’s performance standards in these areas is unsurpassed" and finally to: "It meets the toughest industry standards.". In #3 they never deny that their base stock costs half as much. They mmerely attack the messenger: "Mr. Bedard has absolutely no information about the production costs of our product." And of course finish off the paragraph with the usual "SYNTEC’s formulation is made of the highest quality ..bla..bla.." The article demonstrates a good job of deflecting the critism and coming out with a positive for the product. This theme is repeated throughout the entire article. I once had a cource on effective writing where the instructor said that he once spent 2 weeks on writing a one page letter on a particular subject fot a Company President. You can bet this letter got the same kind of atention . And this entire article is all:  - IMHO
 
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5,069
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Saratoga, NY
On a Honda forum I used to haunt years ago, I went through that press release line by line and parsed it for those who are not used to reading CYA lawyerspeak. I wish I could find what I wrote back then but I’m sure it’s hopeless. So I guess I’ll have to do it again … at least some of it. [Roll Eyes] “… the new hydroisomerized base stock allowed us to blend a synthetic product that was superior to the old PAO base stock formula.” In what way? If they had come out with a better formula, why not publish some test results for the serious gearheads who are often the “gatekeepers” for attitudes towards certain products. They keep saying that this stuff is better but the TECHNICAL FACTS and TESTING we have seen to date don’t support this. The Chevron data shows that Group III can get close to PAO’s performance but I haven't seen any tests showing it superior. Not one. “This was challenged by a competitor who was a major manufacturer of PAO base stock, before the NAD (National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau). This resulted in a rejection of our competitor’s position when the NAD, relying on industry standards and the extensive expert testimony of leading scientists here and in Europe, completely upheld our position. After months of study, the NAD agreed that SYNTEC is fully synthetic.” OK, what they don’t tell you was that the API basically abdicated their responsibility and instead of saying that synthetic was a technical term with a certain definition, they deemed it a marketing term … which means advertisers can say whatever they want about it. “Industry Standards” indeed. [Roll Eyes] “SYNTEC is not made with petroleum base stock.” This is classic lawyer speak. I don’t know what the industry definition of “petroleum” is but Syntec is made from oil from the ground. Get real. [Roll Eyes] “SYNTEC’s performance standards in these areas (stability, low temperature flow) is unsurpassed. It meets the toughest industry standards.” Where are the tests? Hello? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? “Charge #3: SYNTEC’s base stock costs half as much as the competitor’s. In truth, Mr. Bedard has absolutely no information about the production costs of our product.” Great way to duck the question. The truth is that at the wholesale level, much is known about the costs of these products and Patrick Bedard may not have been perfect to the second decimal point but I but he was very, very close to the truth. [Roll Eyes] quadrun1: “They effectively dodge the question with blah blah like ‘highest quality’ and ‘superior qualities.’ I hate this double-speak, it sounds like a politician's words. They use a lot of words and yet THEY SAY NOTHING.” Bingo. And people wonder why I don’t trust anything Castrol says. Not in their ads, not in their press releases. [Razz] --- Bror Jace
 

Al

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19,252
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Elizabethtown, Pa
quote:
Originally posted by Bror Jace: “… the new hydroisomerized base stock allowed us to blend a synthetic product that was superior to the old PAO base stock formula.” In what way? Bror Jace
Yea..that's a good one perhaps superior in profitability. [Roll Eyes] It is however possible that wear parameters within a prescribed drain interval were superior to their old formula. The new additive package certainly could have accomplished that.
 
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5,069
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Saratoga, NY
Al, when this issue was a bit fresher, Castrol had a press release touting the financial benefits to their switch. Maybe it was on their website? But after all the criticism, this seemed to have disapeared. [Wink] Patrick Bedard brought this up in his article as well ... and then pointed out that Syntec's price didn't drop despite the cost of manufacture dropping precipitously. I'll see if I can't find that bit of text somewhere ... --- Bror Jace
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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Iowegia - USA
I would like to have seen Bedford's original article to view both sides of the story. Apparently, his article hit very close to home or Castrol wouldn't have gone on the defensive as it did. IF (if) Shell goes with the PIO (polyinternalolefins) and Castrol adopts those PIO's for their Synthec base oils, then Castrol could say they use synthetic base oils, since PIO's, in my view, are just as synthetic as PAO's. But if they continue to use GIII's, then they are just continuing to blow XHVI smoke. I really think the reason Castrol switched to GIII's was that someone, either Shell, or BP, or Chevron, or whomever, promised to give Castrol a better deal on blending stocks than could Mobil. I think Castrol saw this as way to increase profits by linking the pricing scheme of the Syntec with their touted fake synthetic bases.
 

HOndaGuy

Thread starter
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556
Location
Michigan
thats the reason I personally will never use castrol syntec bc its not a true synthetic. Whether the german castrol is a true syn still remains a mystery, but we do know it to be better than the american syntec.
 
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2,925
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Georgia/Retired
I do remember reading this original article way back when. At the end of the article Bedard presented the question to the Castrol spokesperson specifically that "since the production cost have decreased do you intend to lower the price of the product"? The answer was never to deny that production costs decreased,, it was simply that "Castrol has no intentions of changing their retail pricing". And if the German Castrol is the exact formulation as the North American 0W-30 then I'm pouring that junk out this weekend. If Castrol has lied on their labels and now is lying in the correspondence then I'm done with them completely to include their GTX line of products. And why on this green earth would Castrol go to the trouble of telling everyone that the domestic 0W-30 meets A-1 and the imported 0W-30 meets A-3 and then tell us that it's the samem product? And what about all of those European manufacturer standards that are met with the import but not published on the domestic product. I smell a rotten fish here.
 
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Although I don't believe that the GC is the "exiler of the gods"...it is certainly NOT the same stuff as the N.A. version. That's just a marketing guy talking that was probably told it was the same stuff...just happens to be now imported...
 
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