Skip to content

April 10, 2011

21

Auto Detailing in Japan. BANZAI !

by Kenneth Tang
10

We’re most exposed to auto detailing in the west, i.e. from Europe and the U.S., product discussions normally stem around products from those region. What about the other technologically advance country in the east? Japan.

Read on and you’d be surprised at their technologies, efficiency and professionalism.

It all began with using what I believe to be the world’s best trim product, Carmate Black Resin Restore.

I first saw it at Eneos(A Japanese auto store), the mysterious Japanese wordings on it attracted me. As if it had some glowing zen aura radiating from the box. “Buy me….buy me and discover our technological advancement and how it will kick Meguiar’s and Autoglym in the butt”.

So I did, if you don’t know what is it yet, read my initial impressions and review.

How is it holding on after the initial impressions? I just took this photo outside my house and I myself was amazed. Then I checked the post date of the initial impression, even more amazed!

Photobucket

1 year and 4 months. That’s the longest durability of any product I have ever seen. Meguiar’s latest trim product, Ultimate Protectant? Hah…doesn’t even come near. Honestly, I am not sure if the western manufacturers do not have such technologies yet or they do not bothering producing it because it may be difficult for their customers to apply?

That’s when I got hooked and I need to find out more about Japanese products. Coincidentally, a local uprising detailing product distributor saw my blog at the old domain(http://wetshinedetailing.blogspot.com/) and was looking to employ me. Wow, I got found doing what I love and now I can do it everyday! Why not?

It was then that my old blog started to go silent as I was just too busy over there. They opened their first detailing centre and was the representative for G’ZOX Japan. I wasn’t familiar with G’ZOX at first and it was actually my second time seeing it. First was in Autobacs Singapore, they had a G’ZOX Hard Plastic Coat. Although I am no longer with the company, I did not regret joining them. During my 7 month stint at G’ZOX Malaysia, I learned so much more than doing it part time for 2 years. Learning to sell, learning to manage a small centre, learning to deal with not-so-educated employees, learning to respect and be respected, and so much more. At that time, I helped them managed their blog as they liked the work I did with mine. Which also helped me improve and you can see that in my new site here.

Here’s a photo of what goes on everyday at the shop. Don’t look down on him, he may be a foreign worker that doesn’t have a formal education, but this guy is a mean polisher. He can produce that swirl and hologram free finish using products that many people can’t.

Photobucket

Here I am fooling around with my partner during our detailing job at East Malaysia. I am the small kid on the left, and yes, that’s clay.

Photobucket

Here I am again dead and sleeping as we were pushing to get the cars done within the given time.

Photobucket

Anyway, back to the story.

It was also then that I learned about how advanced Japanese auto detailing products are. G’ZOX first coating, Real Glass Coat is a Si02/Silica based coating that has a warranty period of 5 years in Japan. And this product was launched in the year of 2005. Yes you read that right, that’s more than 5 years ago! The western counterparts are only starting recently. The only manufacturer I am aware that has this type of coating is Optimum. There is also Nanolex from Germany, CarPro and G|Techniq from the U.K, but I’m not sure if they are the manufacturers themselves. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Photobucket

Meguiar’s will soon be launching their Deep Crystal Coating, but have read that somewhere that it is polymer based, which is older tech than silica/Si02. Again, I stand corrected.

However, nothing is perfect, and I still prefer the compounds and polishes from Meguiar’s. Japanese polishes have a common nature of being a little bit too dry. I don’t know the reason why, but it makes paint correction slower.

This brings me to another topic, efficiency (and practicality). I have heard that the reason they do not emphasize so strongly on perfect paint is because it is not practical to judge your paint up close. I mean, if you do have some light swirl marks or holograms. Will it look less glossy that our eyes can tell the difference? No.

Sure under an LED torch you might be able to reveal the defects to a fellow detailer, but to your friends or your neighbours, will they come up to you and say, “Hey, your car looks shiny, can I park it under the sun to see if it is 100% perfect with no swirls or holograms because it is just not right”. Maybe, if I am your neighbour.

So maybe…the Japanese know that hey, people won’t judge paint like that and it won’t affect overall gloss, let’s put our R&D effort into other areas instead. So there you have your paint coatings, plastic coatings, glass coatings, wheel coatings, etc. etc. Yes I may be a bit biased writing this article, look at the Jap anime character on the banner above.

Photobucket

Also look at these two videos below.

This video is just showing a guy using a DA polishing a car’s door. Notice his actions and movements.
He doesn’t switch off the machine when applying polish, saving him a few seconds pressing and locking the trigger twice(off & on). His arm speed when he applies the polish, again shaving off a few seconds. Which could be accumulated into a few minutes or even up to half an hour throughout the polishing process, and as with all service industries, time is the most expensive commodity. This time saving can be accumulated in the long term which might be equivalent to the time of detailing an entire car, which is money for a business.

The video below is what seems like a body painting contest. His fast movements indicate that he is being timed. This is the first time I have seen or heard a contest being held for that. The super competitive culture in Japan just forces them to be efficient in every way possible.

So you say, “Alright alright, they got the products, they got speed, do they have the skill?”. Firstly, let’s remind ourselves what Auto Detailing is. Auto Detailing is the process of improving and restoring the appearance of a vehicle, every single inch of it. Japan takes it to the next level.

Let me introduce a blog that you guys will love.

Apec’s Car Body Coating & Detailing Blog

I’m not sure about other countries, but here in Malaysia, a paint polisher is a paint polisher, a window film installer is window film installer, a windshield restorer is a windshield restorer.

But the company below…does it all… professionally.

Chrome trim polishing.
Photobucket

Car registration number glass etching.
Photobucket

Window tinting.
Photobucket

Glass crack repair.
Photobucket

Glass polishing.
Photobucket

Body protection films.
Photobucket

Wheel coating using spray technique.
Photobucket

Trim coating, nothing special but look at the masking on that.
Photobucket

Extensive masking!
Photobucket

More masking…
Photobucket

Impressed yet?

Of course, there are the old gurus who may have all these skills but do not post their work on the net or even have a website. If you know of any, please share them in the comments. Also, I’m only basing my opinions of what I have seen in Malaysia and of others shown on the web. Many do not post on forums or have a blog.

So feel free to disagree with me entirely but hats off to Japan for their technology, efficiency and professionalism.

** Our hope and prayers are with you as you recover from the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster **

To end this post, here are some funny and interesting Japanese commercials.

Soft99 Fukupika Wash n’ Wax wipes.

Soft99 Fusso Coat.

Soft99 Glaco.

Soft99 Spectacles/Glasses cleaner.

Not detailing related. Suntory Whisky.

That’s it and I’ll see you guys next time! Have a great week everybody.

About these ads
21 Comments Post a comment
  1. karl
    Apr 11 2011

    I think it’s because of the language. Americans and Europeans can easily promote their brand because they mainly use English and we can understand quite easily. Imagine if they sell most of the Japanese products w/o translation, sure it’s hard for us to use it.

    Reply
    • Apr 11 2011

      Thanks for your input! Totally agree with you on that, I forgot to consider the language barrier. No wonder I keep having the feeling of ‘something is not right with this article’. Thanks again. :)

      Reply
  2. karl
    Apr 11 2011

    I forgot to comment about that product itself. Last for 1 year and 4 months is really something. No wonder Japanese always advance in technology. the Americans always make a bit cheaper products but we need to re-apply it weekly/monthly. Well, maybe some products are not, but mostly..

    Reply
  3. mznn
    Apr 11 2011

    Not in G;zox anymore r u ? no wonder can’t see u when I go for car wash . Still in detailing related job ?

    Using Meg’s Ultimate Protectant now n honestly very satisfied with it but those carmate pics are something !!

    Reply
    • Apr 11 2011

      Yup not there anymore. Sorry I don’t remember you, what car do you drive?

      Meg’s Ultimate Protectant is better than most trim dressings out there, but if it tries to go against those in the coating category, it might be a little bit behind.

      Reply
      • mznn
        Apr 13 2011

        Me with the Golf la, though hardly go there to wash already since that back lane area always ‘jammed up’ , no place to park n wait !

        Back to carmate , I’ve re read the review, could it be some kind of sealant coz it produce the least cleaning n most in protections?
        I’m seriously looking for this now , hopefully can use to coat rubber trim as well.

        btw I thought your car..of all with show least contrasting trim color different for all the ‘care’ given to it !

      • Apr 13 2011

        Bro…so many Golfs….haha….

        Carmate is a sealant/coating that will harden…rubber trim I haven’t had the chance to try as I always presumed it is to coat hard plastics only. Mine already all hardened, can’t test anymore.

        My car….is guinea pig for product tests…very uncared for, haha. Just give it a wash now and then, better use the time to test products or work on other people’s car.
        :)

  4. Apr 12 2011

    That was the most enjoyable read in some time… Surely made my morning tea a lot tastier :)

    Along with the language barrier, I think the Japanese detailing industry is not very eager to promote itself on other continents, like Europe or North America, not even Asia for that matter. Take you for example, your closer to Japan, but still use a lot of US or European Brands and they have better availability than most Japanese stuff. At least that’s my impression after reading your blog.

    Also, I think most Japanese products are aimed at the professional market. All these coatings (paint/plastic/glass) are aimed to be professionally applied and you won’t see them on supermarket shelves.

    Regarding “AIO companies” have a look at KDS detailing from the UK. They offer a full range of services, from detailing, to painting, PPF and mechanical servicing.

    PS: you’ll have to hook me up with some Japanese tech at some point if you keep raving about them :)

    Reply
    • Apr 13 2011

      Hi Toni,

      Thanks for dropping by! Where are you based? Sorry I can’t make out the language being used in your blog…only saw the links are ending with ‘.ro’, I’m guessing Romania?

      I agree with you with Japanese companies not being eager to promote themselves. It was said that their own domestic market is already large enough. Short of manpower?

      Even though Malaysia is in between….Autoglym and Meguiar’s dominate the scene. Soft99 was the first to be here, but when Autoglym arrived with their pro range, it just positioned Soft99 in the cheap, low-end market. I wish they market their products more strongly here, they or any other Japanese companies. Will see what is worth hooking you up with. *haha*

      KDS detailing is awesome, love his long write-ups full of photos on DW.

      Liking your blog and the tagline “it’s all in the weekend”, *haha*, I’m in the same scenario too. Post more! :D

      Reply
      • Apr 13 2011

        Thanks for having me :P
        The tagline is nice but time is limited even in the weekends; not having a space where to tinker around the car makes things worse (living in a flat and loving cars don’t go well together). Not to mention the long winter we had, this put my blog into hibernation :) I have some Zymol Glasur bought in the autumn that I’ve only smelled until now…

        Yeah, I’m from Romania. Detailing market is very undeveloped here, I get most of my gear from the UK. The US market is great, especially the low prices :P but shipping is insane and kills any economy instantly.
        I’ve looked a few times over the Japanese detailing offer (you’re to blame for this mostly :P ) but I can’t make too much of their websites nor find any “detailing shops” as I’m used to in find in EU/US. Do you happen to know any?

  5. izso
    Apr 15 2011

    Long live Soft99! HAhahahaha.. remember your scratchX vs my Soft99? :D

    Reply
    • Apr 15 2011

      hahaha….that’s was so old…when are we gonna have another session on your car?

      Reply
  6. e39touring
    May 11 2011

    Hi Kenneth. I’ve been off the detailing scene for quite a while. I met you at the Ampang Park demo with Seech and KC (was it 2009?). I came across G’zox in a magazine today that led me to your blog. Wow. Superb! make me want to find those dusty detailing products in my old cabinets and start detailing again.

    Reply
    • Like you, I’ve stopped the full blown detailing sessions. Just the weekly wash now to keep the car in OK condition. But reading this blog is revving me up again! Now I know why Kenneth’s (old) blog became silent. Many thanks for the great write ups here :)

      Reply
      • Sep 8 2011

        Thanks Joseph! Many more to come!

  7. zahir
    Aug 10 2011

    Hi

    i wish to buy G’zox, but seems very difficult, can some body help me ??

    regards
    zahir
    zasait@yahoo.com

    Reply
    • Aug 18 2011

      Hi Zahir, G’ZOX products are not being sold in Malaysia. They only offer services.

      Reply
  8. zahir
    Aug 21 2011

    Hi Kenneth,

    Could you kindly let me know the best way to get in touch with Soft 99 and compact tools agents in asia.

    Question : is wetshine a part of Gzox branch in Malaysia?

    regards
    zahir

    Reply
    • Sep 8 2011

      Hi Zahir,

      Sorry I can’t help your with Soft99 or the Compact tools agent in Asia as I don’t have any contacts.
      No, WetShine is not a Gzox branch in Malaysia. GZOX Malaysia do not sell their products or have subsidiaries using their products, all GZOX services are done under the GZOX brand itself.

      Reply
  9. mystic88
    Dec 4 2011

    It’s a late comment, since I just found out the blog moved :D.

    I think Japan’s detailing products are superb, but the lack of English manual is always a minus point. I personally tested S99 products, love some, hate some. For waxes I prefer the ones with good smell and buffed off easily. S99 provides neither. I would like to try out the spray coat though. Looks fine to me :D

    Reply
    • Dec 6 2011

      Waxes that buff off easily AND cleanly, in Malaysia, where the humidity is ~95% RH, waxes and sealant can be very finicky and dependent on the weather conditions. Apply it after a rainy evening, you will end up with dark patches here and there. Apply it a hot and dry day, easy to buff off and looks much more even.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 267 other followers

%d bloggers like this: