BASF’s future: Timothy Dawe on what’s next and his newly created role

Tim Dawe, BASF Automotive Refinish Sales Director for North America.

By Jeff Sanford

Toronto, Ontario — December 9, 2015 — Collision Repair magazine recently reported Timothy P. Dawe has been appointed the new North American Sales Director for BASF Automotive Refinish. Dawe recently took a few minutes out to speak to us about his new role.

Dawe comes to his new position with more than 30 years of experience in automotive refinishing. His most recent position was as Managing Director in China for the automotive paint division of a major company. Now Dawe moves on to a company that is one of the world’s largest chemical producers. He takes up a position that is new in BASF.

“The role is a new one in this company,” says Dawe. “It’s a new job within the BASF refinish business.” As North American Sales Director, he is part of a reorganization within the business leadership team that will see him oversee Canada and the US.

“The reason they created the position is to continue to improve organizational effectiveness and to take our customer relationships to another level,” says Dawe. “As I see it, there are three challenges. One, continuing organizational development. Two, continuing to grow deeper and more meaningful relationships with key distributors. And of course, the third piece is a focus on growth. Growth is essential to any business and it’s important to BASF.”

Dawe’s recent tenure in China gives him a unique perspective on the state of the global market for refinishing products. Commenting on the difference between Asia and North America, he notes the relative evolution of the two markets.

“The global coatings market in Asia is in a growth phase. Those markets are expanding rapidly. Comparatively, Canada and the US are very mature markets. So there are differences,” says Dawe.

That said, there are opportunities to be exploited on this continent. “Growing is essential to the health of the business, and typically that is something BASF has always focused on. Given an opportunity we see in these markets, a couple weeks ago we introduced a new product, a new paint line, Limco Value Line,” says Dawe. This is a value-based product, targeted at shops that are looking at controlling costs. Dawe notes that BASF has often been considered the premium brand. But the company wants to appeal to all sectors of the market and ensure that distribution partners can service all their needs with one paint company.

“The quality is always going to be there. BASF is always going to be a leader on that. But we recognize some shops need to save money. So we just launched this line of primers and clears in the US and Canada,” he says. “BASF has always been the benchmark for quality. We have a strong market share in the premium part of the market. I think we manufacture the best products on the market. But as we expand our offerings, we have to be aware of trends in the economy sector.”

Reports are that the auto industry has been enjoying a very solid year of business lately. Shops are busy. New car sales are at record levels, while the price of gasoline is low. When asked if he is encouraged by the state of the auto industry Dawes said, “I absolutely agree, this has been a good time in the industry. The number of miles driven are up, and there is a direct correlation between miles driven and accident frequency. I’ve been visiting some dealerships in the US in the first week on the job—I haven’t had a chance to travel north of the border yet, but I will have a chance to do that shortly—but it’s true, business has been good. The shops we’ve visited have backlogs. They’re scheduling out a couple weeks in advance.”

But even though business is strong there is still room for growth, and that’s what Dawe is going to focus on in his new position. “When it comes to growth what we continue to focus on is improving efficiency. Shop owners want to know how the type of sprayer they use can get more of the paint out of the gun and onto the car. The macro data shows us that overall volumes in coatings aren’t going up. So we’ve got to work on being more efficient with what we have. And BASF has a wide variety of services to help shops become more efficient.”

As for the Canadian market, Dawe is effusive, “I can tell you this, in Canada, BASF is definitely a leader in the market. Canada is very important to our North American business plan. BASF will continue to be supportive and be invested in Canada.”

For more information, please visit basfrefinish.com.

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