IF there is a place in Metro Manila where owners of high-end cars are trooping to at present, it is the facility of Foilacar Industries located on Brixton Street, Capitolyo, Pasig City.
At Foilacar, expensive cars like Ferraris, Rovers, Mercedes Benzes, Jaguars and BMWs get a full wrapping of foil that changes the car’s color, depending on the preference of the owner. The owner of a vehicle can also have his or her car wrapped in the same color, which in turn protects the original paint finish of the vehicle for as long as eight years given proper care.
The service is expensive, in fact very expensive, but Foilacar does not have any problem finding high-caliber clients.
Foilacar’s recently opened shop in Pasig City, which has five bays, is the third of the company with the first opening at Bonifacio Global City in 2008.
Lester Codog, president of Foilacar Industries, said in 2008, it was impossible to think that there were motorists who were willing to pay as much as P400,000 to have their cars wrapped in expensive foil. It was in 2008 that Codog opened his first autofoil wrapping facility at Bonifacio Global City.
“In 2008, nobody will spend so much like P300,000 to 400,000 [for automotive wrapping]. It was an eye opener for the aftermarket [for cars]here, to our investors in the aftermarket,” he added.
“They were saying nobody will buy my products because they were very expensive. But when I introduced it to the general market, I gained a name and niche, and the new businessmen in automotive brought in expensive items because there is a market in the Philippines. They don’t trust the Filipinos that they have buying power like that. We shook the [aftermarket]industry hard,” Codog said.
His venture into high-end foil wraps started by accident and he did not have any intention of setting up such an operation in the Philippines.
After his friend saw the Lamborghini of Sheikh Abdullah that was wrapped in matte gold automotive foil, Codog was bugged by the friend in the Philippines who wanted his Porsche also to be wrapped in automotive foil.
“Actually, it was an accident that I wrapped one car here in Manila. One of my friends kept on bugging me and he told me ‘I saw it in the Internet, can you do it to one of my cars’?” he said, referring to the Sheikh Abdullah’s Lamborghini that was given an expensive foil wrap.
Codog had two staff in Manila and they wrapped his friend’s Porsche at the garage of his mother’s home.
“I had two staff in Manila so we did the car at my mom’s garage. There were no plans of putting it [automotive foil wrapping]in Manila. I was not even planning to come back [here in Manila],” he said.
After finishing his friend’s Porsche, Codog did two more vehicles in his mother’s garage that made her angry. But that was enough to get the ball rolling for Codog who opened the Foilacar shop at Bonifacio Global City in 2008.
“And the history started and I never stopped after that,” he said.
NEED TO EXPAND
But the first Foilacar shop at Bonifacio Global City never ran out of clients who were mostly owners of high-end vehicles who were willing to shell out from P180,000 to P400,000 to have their vehicles wrapped in expensive foil.
“I could not finish the cars one after another, after another, after another. Nobody planned it like this big,” he said.
Although the new Foilacar shop in Pasig City has opened, Codog said it is not yet “enough” to service his growing client base who are mostly high flyers.
But Foilacar is also becoming popular among motorists whose vehicles are mainstream brands and it opened a branch in West Avenue, Quezon City, called Foil Plus.
At Foil Plus, Codog said motorists can have their vehicles wrapped in quality foil from P45,000 to P75,000.
Foilacar also started a program two years ago for brand-new cars to be wrapped in transparent film that will protect a vehicle’s paint finish from the elements and scratches. It’s called the Clear Protection Program.
“Buy a [brand-new] car, you can wrap it. It’s transparent. From P65,000 to P85,000 and hit it with mortgage, it’s P300 to P500 a month,” Codog said.
“We launched it two years ago. It started the demand already,” he added.
Codog said Foilacar will be introducing a new material for its Clear Protection Program that is self-healing, meaning minor scratches to it will disappear.
“If the film is scratched, the scratch disappears. So we are going to launch this product,” he added.
“And I know this is more affordable. When you buy a car, it should have [something]like that,” Codog said.
Foilacar gets its supplies of foils from Europe but Codog’s expertise in wrapping cars is a major input into the business, which explains why he is also sought after abroad.
He has set up operations in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Brunei where his partners eventually bought him out. He, however, still earns from the operations there. He also set up operations in New York City where he still has a 30-percent stake.
After his successful automotive operations, Codog ventured into other areas where foil wrapping is applicable like home interiors, marine and aviation.
His venture into marine already started after his company completed works on a 200-foot yacht with two helipads.
“Now we have the marine division, it’s operational. We did a 200-footer yacht, we turned it pearl white using marine grade film,” Codog said adding he got his training from Belgium on how to wrap a marine vessel with foil.
Foilacar’s marine division will be working on another boat, a 170-foot yacht from Malaysia that will be arriving in the Philippines soon.
“There are only three of us doing that [foil wrapping of marine vessels]in the world,” Codog said.
For home interiors, Foilacar will introduce foil wrapping that can transform the wall color or texture of a home without the need to paint or install heavy panels. The company already has its own machines to fabricate the foil for home interiors.
“We opened a division called Foilacar homes. This is very good for interiors of the house, wood finish, aluminum finish, textured walls as interior architecture and wall art. It’s like wallpaper. We design, we manufacture, we install. We have our own machines,” Codog said.
Meanwhile, his aviation division started in 2013 and has done five corporate jets and a number of helicopters so far.
“We have to have a permit to do that,” Codog said referring to the need for special training and equipment to do foil wrapping of aircraft.
His going into the wrapping of aircraft should not come as a surprise because the 35-year-old Codog has been a licensed commercial pilot since he was 17 years old.
“I was one of the youngest commercial pilots at that time. That was in 2001 [now]I am 35 years old,” he said.
Codog’s love for aircraft led him to form Iliad Private Jets that has four corporate jets and three helicopters that provide chartered flights.
“That is already operating for one year and a half,” he said.
Obviously Codog fits the bill of a high flyer, literally, because he is a veteran pilot, and figuratively for his successful Foilacar operations. And it is no wonder that other high flyers are also seeking his services either for their cars, yachts, aircraft and soon their homes.