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Manfred Hoffmann talks about the "Brand of the Century" award

Portrait von Mannfred Hoffmann

In 2022, the “Zeit” publishing group will be releasing the 20th edition of the publication “Brands of the Century”, a high-quality coffee-table book presenting almost 200 outstanding brands. A panel of renowned experts led by Dr Florian Langenscheidt has now nominated the SONAX brand for the third time – after 2015 and 2018 – to join the circle of “premium class German brands”. In an interview, Manfred Hoffmann, director and shareholder of SONAX GmbH, explains the importance of this distinction.

In the book, SONAX is ranked as a “brand of the century”. How do you rate the significance of this award?
Manfred Hoffmann: The distinction of belonging to this select circle of outstanding brands is a great honour and something we are very proud of. We rate this award very highly: it emphasises the unique position of the SONAX brand and the excellent reputation of our products in a very special way.

What success factors, in your opinion, were decisive in allowing SONAX to be perceived as a brand of the century?
When customers “vote with their feet” for us in the aisles, they can rely on our brand and the positive experience of using our products. That is why our “Made in Germany” quality pledge, continuity, reliability and high degree of customer orientation are paramount for us. These and other success factors have been part of the SONAX “DNA” since its conception in 1950 and are the foundation for our brand development, something which we have invested a great amount in, particularly since the eighties of the last century and in the current millennium. 

Successfully, as Dr Florian Langenscheidt’s panel has indicated by selecting us. What developments have characterised the SONAX brand presence over the decades?
In the beginning, the SONAX name was only attached to a simple car polish, with the first interior cleaner, “Unirein”, following later on, and then the MoS2 oil. In the mid-70s we pushed the expansion of the product range, and since 1984 we have specifically built up the SONAX brand, with the big red lettering you see today, as a premium umbrella brand for car products.

It was in this period that our international breakthrough occurred as well. Are SONAX products available on every continent? 
Yes, and we are very pleased to be able to say so. Our memorable brand image, advertising and sponsoring activities have also helped us achieve ever-greater recognition at the international level. SONAX is now known around the world as being synonymous with high-quality vehicle care products. Today, the brand is available in over 100 countries. Our export share has risen to 43 percent. As a medium-sized company we are particularly proud that our high-performance, “Made in Germany” product range has achieved such high recognition across the globe. Customers all over Europe, in the Middle East, the Americas and Asia trust in our competence and benefit from the added value our products provide.

Are concepts such as competence and added value also closely linked to high quality standards? 
That is certainly true, and that's why we are almost obstinate in our strict quality requirements and permanent drive for innovation. Because it is only through achieving the highest customer satisfaction that we can continue to prove that the SONAX brand stands for products that are better, products that truly belong to one of the “brands of the century”.

What can your customers and partners expect from SONAX in the coming years? 
We are pushing development in the important fields of car care, not just maintaining our advantage but building on it. The core of the SONAX brand is also characterised by the quest for market leadership – and to live up to this, we are expanding out from our headquarters in Neuburg an der Donau with new logistics capacity and production facilities, a volume of investment that has already surpassed 40 million euros. This is how we are setting the course for a future where the SONAX brand retains its leading role.

How would you end the following sentence? SONAX is a brand of the century because...
… it has earned it through 70 years of shining performance.