Company /
26 May 2015 14:58

Jubilee - SONAX celebrates 65 years

1950 SONAX begins as one of the pioneers in the development and manufacture of car care products.

When Manfred Hoffmann senior and his father took on the entrepreneurial venture of manufacturing a polish for cars, success was not exactly predestined. A wealth of ideas, an instinct for the emerging market and outstanding products have all substantially contributed to success: Today the SONAX GmbH has about 350 employees in Germany and generated sales in excess of 90 million Euro in 2014.

A brand with history

The SONAX brand has a history reaching back to the beginning of the previous century. As early as 1903, the great grandfather of the present company owner, Manfred Hoffmann, began to extract“Neuburg“ siliceous earth in Neuburg, a very fine mineral used as a polish in many household cleaning products. After the second world war another branch, as manufacturer of care products, was added. So two brands were registered and legally protected: the brand „Sona“ was primarily intended for household use as a silver polish – the brand name of „SONAX“ for car care products was devised by the addition of an „X“ as synonym for „wax“. That is how the company started into the automobile care sector 65 years ago.

The beginnings were very simple: Four SONAX sales reps driving fully loaded VW beetles throughout Germany. Personal contact to the customer counted for everything, advertising at that time was unthinkable.

Jack Frost brought the breakthrough

Further car care products gradually followed. Amongst other things developed in the Neuburg laboratory was an effective de-icer , which became the first on the market in an aerosol can and, in the harsh winter of 1962, a huge commercial success.

In his book „For Love of the Automobile“, writer Wolfgang Sachs states: „In the 13 years between 1960 and 1973 the number of motor cars quadrupled, the amount of kilometres driven tripled and the route length of federal motorways doubled. (…) That was the beginning of the `motorised´ society“.It also changed the day to day life of the German people. Now, the car is ritually washed on a Saturday, seldom by a filling station attendant, mostly by the hand of the proud owner. The demand for car care products began to rise rapidly – bringing real success for the SONAX brand.

In the mid-1960’s the first fully automatic car wash installations were built, and SONAX accompanied this breakthrough from the very beginning, as quality manufacturer of cleaning and care products. Simultaneously, the programme for manual vehicle care was continuously developing.

When Manfred Hoffmann joined the company in 1984, the turnover had risen to the at that time considerable sum of 30 million DM. At first the majority of this was from own brands within the trade, the large oil companies and motor car manufacturers – But from the mid-1980’s we began a target orientated build up of the brand as a premium care programme for the car. The product programme is constantly expanding, and the clear brand image, as well as advertising and sponsorship activities have helped to attain ever greater awareness. Successful partnerships in motor sports with Hans-Joachim Stuck, Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna or Heinz-Harald Frentzen have established the brand nationally and internationally.

The reunification of Germany was a further boost in the company’s development – from 1989 the sales turnover doubled within a short period of time. Today the brand is represented in more than 100 countries around the world. The export share has grown to over 43 percent. SONAX products are represented all over Europe and on all continents. The company has traditionally attained a high market share in the German speaking regions and in Scandinavia. But the brand also shines on east European markets. And cleaning and care products „made in Germany“ have also established themselves in Asiatic countries like South Korea, Japan and Thailand. SONAX products have also won numerous fans in South America, the USA and Canada.

Sponsoring activities in international motor sports have had a lasting impact on the brand image – especially in Formula 1. SONAX first displayed brilliance in the premium class of motor sports as partner of the team BAR Honda and McLaren Mercedes. Since 2012 the brand has reigns on pole position as „Official Supplier“ to the team Infiniti Red Bull Racing. Numerous partnerships in DTM with e.g. Mercedes Benz, Opel, Audi and BMW provide some positive influence on a national level. With involvement in the inofficial Formula 1 series, GP2 and Formula 3, for many years SONAX has promoted young talent on international race tracks.


„made in Germany“ – geared for growth

The most recent chapter in the success story has been especially accompanied by extensive expansion activities. In 2008 the initial phase began with the new and large scale reception and administration building with ultra modern training facilities – which has become the flagship of our group of companies. With the construction of a new centre for application technology in 2012, the course has been set for intensified research and development activity. The new plant was put into operation in 2014. The opening ceremony was attended by company employees as well as numerous guests from commerce and politics such as Bavarian Premier, Horst Seehofer.
With that, SONAX sets itself to meet global challenges with a huge committment to location, this is stressed by owner and managing director, Manfred Hoffmann: „We feel very much at home here in Neuburg, the town is our home base, SONAX is a part of it“. For that reason, as part of our expansion strategy we are making a positive committment to sustainability: „For us it was a core concern that our economic advancement is underpinned with expansion that is compatible with our environment , with energy conservation and biodiversity. We link our entrepreneurial future with the ecological future of the region“, says Hoffmann.

For the perfect appearance of the automobile – and many other areas

No matter whether it’s a small car, medium class vehicle, or luxury motorhome – whether it’s in motor sports, the tuning scene or in the world of classic cars: When it comes to the perfect appearance of the automobile, SONAX is always there, for car fans and experts alike. To ensure the car care products are available nationwide, we work in close cooperation with trading partners from specialist retailers, the DIY sector, the oil industry and the motor car industry. In addition, since the end of the 1990’s the development and manufacture of the product programme for professional vehicle valeting and paintwork finishing have provided strong growth impulses.

But SONAX is also expanding into other sectors: During the last few years many new application areas were opened up in branches of trade and industry new to the company. They include, for example, the agricultural industry, the hardware trade, forest management, the construction industry, manufacturing technology or the sanitary industry.

Despite the dynamic career development, from silver polish to a comprehensive range of products and services for vehicle care, as well as for use in trade and industry, SONAX has remained a family business. Short decision making processes, motivated and dedicated employees, and the willingness and capacity for innovation are characteristic. We can be sure that the brand will still be finding satisfied customers in the future.

Sonax Xtreme Polish & Wax 2 hybrid NPT is the clear test winner in the product comparison of the German car magazine “auto motor und sport”. more
Insect dirt looks horrible and damages the car’s paintwork. These are organic „paint killers“ which can cause serious damage to the paintwork, particularly when exposed to solar radiation. And the longer they cling to the paintwork, the deeper the residues eat into the paintwork surfaces. more
Care Tips / 1 Jul 2015

Wellness for the precious metal

Although the dirt is not as noticeable on dark lacquered rims, nevertheless they ought to be regularly cleaned, just like the rims in classic design, before those beautiful wheels are attacked by aggressive dirt contamination. more
Olaf G from Essen asks: Nowadays, car windscreen cleaners are not only offered as concentrates, but also as ready to use mixtures. What would you recommend“? more
The German technical monitoring body, GTÜ in cooperation with the Auto Bild magazine has tested nine current summer windscreen cleaners. The clear test winner, with the rating „highly recommended“, was the SONAX XTREME Windscreen wash, in a practical three litre container, which proved to be by far the best cleaning performance in the test field. more
or the tenth time in succession SONAX has won the readers poll of German motoring magazine „auto motor und sport“. More than 55 percent of readers have had positive experiences with the products of the German company, which this year celebrates its 65th birthday. No other car care brand enjoys such high esteem among motorists.For the tenth time running SONAX is clear favourite for an absolute majority of German „auto motor und sport“ readers when it comes to care and value retention of the car. 55.3 percent of the 112,471 readers who participated voted for SONAX as best brand in the category „care products“. SONAX won the readers poll with a lead of about 24 percent over the second placed brand. The results can be read in the 7/2015 issue from the 19th of March. more
At the Techno Classica in Essen, from the 15th – 19th April, SONAX will be placing its current product range for the care of vintage vehicles in the spotlight. And there will also be plenty for fans of modern vehicles: SONAX presents all of this years innovations.Fans of vintage and „youngtimer“ vehicles should use the opportunity to visit the SONAX exhibition stand in Hall 2.0 and get advice from our experts, face to face. Products from the SONAX Premium Class range are ideally suitable to meet the requirements of vintage vehicle care. Over the entire programme, there are numerous tried and tested products suitable for the maintenance and value retention of classical cars: This includes, for example, the acid free SONAX XTREME Wheel cleaner Plus conceived to be gentle on materials. more
Good news for all owners of foil covered vehicles: The SONAX XTREME Foil care & sealant is now available now. It protects matt and glossy foils against climatic influences such as rain, road salt and UV radiation. Another benefit: It reduces the adhesion of dirt, which perceptibly simplifies the cleaning of even problematic dirt contamination such as insect residues, tree sap or bird droppings. more
Awards / 13 Mar 2015

SONAX is „Top Brand of 2015“

More than 9,400 readers took part in the reader’s poll carried out by the motoring magazine „Auto Zeitung“ to choose the „Top Brands of 2015“ more
When it’s time to change over to summer tyres, you should take the opportunity to thoroughly clean off the winter dirt contamination and to care for the tyres and wheels. Be sure to use an acid free wheel cleaner. more