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Thursday, 22 March 2012 15:52

PCL Has Been Primed Since 1929 with Clear Solutions for Shops

When it opened its doors more than eight decades ago, Pacific Coast Lacquer (PCL) Automotive was providing products for body shops painting automotives such as Ford Model A’s, Hudson Roadsters and Austin 7’s. Today, the brands and names have changed, but PCL still markets a wide range of paint-related products to the collision industry, including surface cleaners, pre-treatment coatings, primer surfacers, primer sealers, single stage topcoats, aerosols and solvents.

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The body shop business has changed in a big way since 1929, back in the days before DRPs or labor rate surveys. But according to Ruben Laguna, PCL’s Director of Sales and Marketing, quality products backed by solid customer service is still a formula for success and longevity. Since being hired by the company in 1988, Laguna has seen PCL grow and change with the times and is proud of the company’s role by providing solutions for body shops that are 100% compliant and make financial sense as well.

“I tell my customers that our products offer all three things: Performance, quality and price,” Laguna stated. “That’s why they represent a great value across the board. You can save money, but are you sacrificing quality or performance as a result? And just because you pay more, does that necessarily mean you’re getting real value?”

Manufacturers of automotive refinishing products have come and gone over the years and PCL is proud to be the only manufacturer of its type still doing business in California. By developing new products through its extensive R&D efforts at its headquarters and factory in Los Angeles, PCL has developed a wide range of innovative products, including several that can be used with both solvent and waterborne paint systems,” Laguna explained.


Body shops make up 85% of PCL’s total revenues through more than 300 paint suppliers and jobbers statewide. The company’s best-selling products are its primers and clears and within the last few years, the manufacturer’s flat black and flat clear topcoats have become extremely popular, especially with customizers making the fashionable trend more commonplace.

Twenty-four years ago, changes in California’s environmental laws drastically changed the types of solvents that had to be used for cleaning paint guns. PCL quickly became the number one provider of these types of solvents in the California market, because they were able to change rapidly and adhere to the new requirements quickly.

In addition, all of PCL’s compliant cleaning solvents adhere to South Air Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1171, which began requiring more waterborne cleaners starting in 1999. All of PCL’s products are designed to meet and/or exceed local and national environment and air quality laws and requirements, according to Laguna.

Exemplary hands-on customer service has long been a key element to PCL’s continued success, Laguna explained. “If you use our products, you also get our knowledge and our years and years of experience. We respond quickly to questions and concerns without fail, and if one of the body shops using our products gets cited for some reason, we’re there to represent them and address the violation. It doesn’t happen very often, because we formulate our products to be 100% compliant across the board, but when it does, we do everything we can to rectify it.”

Training in order to learn the application techniques associated with any of PCL’s products is also always available, Laguna said. “Our products are very easy-to-use, so most of our customers don’t require training. But if they want it, we will come out there and train them right at their shop. We back every product we make and that’s why we’ve been serving the automotive industry continually for so long.”

By making products that have become invaluable to body shops throughout California over the decades, PCL has survived several recessions without taking a hard hit, Laguna said. “Between 2007 and 2008, when the economy took a beating, we increased revenues by 20-25%. When times are lean, more body shops buy our cleaners, primers and sealers particularly, because they know they will do the job, saving them time and money.”

Susan Simmons is a 30-year veteran of the automotive paint industry and is the store manager of FinishMaster in Montclair, California. Servicing approximately 200 Southern California body shops, Simmons has been working with PCL since she entered the field, she said.

“PCL has definitely found several niches over the years and by providing compliant products at affordable prices, they’ve done very well,” Simmons said. “We sell their primers, surfacers, sealers, clears and solvents to a wide range of different customers, from custom shops to do-it-yourselfers to hobbyists, restoration shops and of course, regular body shops. We get customers who call us all the time and ask specifically for PCL’s products, especially their flat black paint fast-drying product.”

Simmons values the support and accountability offered by PCL, she said. “Paul Casanova is my PCL rep, and he is always available and willing to help us in any way. He has assisted us in training and on numerous special projects. If we ever have any issues with PCL products, Paul is there to do whatever it takes to make it right. If there is any hint of trouble, he replaces the product without question. PCL definitely follows through and stands behind all of their products, which makes working with them a no-brainer.”

PCL Automotive
3150 East Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(800) 752-1566

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