Published: May 29, 2024
Published: May 29, 2024

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Lucas Restrepo: Transforming the Motorcycle Industry in the Andean Region

Meet Lucas Restrepo, our motorcycle segment manager and color group leader for South America. His impact completely transformed the motorcycle segment in the Andean region. From introducing groundbreaking matte colors to innovating paint application techniques, Lucas's contributions have reshaped the industry landscape. Delve into his story, including the partnership with Yamaha, and explore the impact he and his team have made on the motorcycle industry.

Andean Motorbiking: Design, Durability, and Innovation

In the Andean region motorcycles have become a popular mode of transportation. Approximately 750,000 motorcycles are sold annually in Colombia, making it the second largest motorcycle manufacturing hub in South America.

"Not everybody here can afford a car. And highways and roads here in the Andean region aren't particularly good, so it's easier to move around on a motorcycle."

In Colombia, the motorcycle market is distributed among a mix of global and local brands. The local manufacturers are particularly flexible with vehicle design, which suited Lucas's innovative mindset.

We shifted our strategy from just developing requested colors to actively offering different colors and finishes.

Beyond introducing new aesthetics for motorcycles, Lucas is playing a key role in revolutionizing paint application in the industry. His team developed a specific Medium Solid Platform, enhancing the performance and application of coatings.

“The Medium Solid Platform uses higher-than-usual solid content, meaning you need less paint for the same surface area, resulting in fewer volatile organic compounds and increased productivity."

Translating all 125 colors from the motorcycle palette to the Medium Solid Platform took the team almost two years.

To further contribute to a more sustainable method of applying coatings, Lucas and his team adapted the Direct to Metal (DTM) technology, traditionally used for heavy-duty equipment, to the motorcycle segment.

They faced the challenge of creating a DTM technology for the motorcycle segment that would be durable yet provide the expected appearance and finish. This adaptation enabled them to produce durable, glossy and visually appealing coatings that generate less waste and lower manufacturing costs during the application, as the need for a primer and a clear coat is eliminated.


Yamaha's Matte Revolution

At a color show that Lucas organized for motorcycle brands in 2017, he curated a palette dominated by matte hues. While many brands hesitated, Yamaha recognized the potential and took the leap. In response, Lucas and his team developed a very dark grey and metallic black with minimal gloss.

Until then, everyone exclusively wanted glossy, shiny motorcycles. Besides Yamaha, most brands thought we were not thinking it through.

The introduction of matte colors brought with it an unexpected shakeup. Yamaha saw sales skyrocket in the first month alone and suddenly, even the previously skeptical brands sought Lucas for his expertise in matte finishes and color tendencies.

In Colombia, Yamaha is highly regarded as a top-of-mind brand, therefore, partnering with the industry leader marked a significant milestone for Lucas's team.

"Our goal was to make our palette the go-to choice. Once they embraced our low gloss colors and trendy palettes, we began engaging in frequent marketing dialogues with various brands."

This close relationship with Yamaha has resulted in mutual benefits over the years, including a significant share-of-wallet, the development of new and exclusive colors for Yamaha and the recent sponsorship of the Yamaha Racing Team and the Kirei special edition, something Lucas is really proud of.

"By featuring our logo on motorcycles, PPG significantly boosts its visibility. In Colombia, where we lack an extensive marketing infrastructure, collaborating with a reputable brand like Yamaha presents a valuable chance to enhance brand recognition."


Sharing the Colombian Skill Worldwide

There are many reasons why Lucas loves his job. One is his ability to spark conversations with potential customers and convert them into actual customers. Another is his passion for motorcycles and colors.

Lucas started in our company as a commercial manager for local customers, working his way up to manager of the entire motorcycle segment in just two years. As he says, the beginning of his career was when he learned the most about developing relationships.

"Understanding the market and bringing innovation into the equation has forged a unique connection between our customers and my team over the years! I am very excited for the positive impact we’ve made here in Colombia and I’m confident that our success can be replicated in other countries."

Currently, after just under a decade in the motorcycle segment, Lucas can already look back at some impactful changes that he contributed to. He helped introduce new ways motorcycle finishes are applied, set trends in the type of colors people choose, and, above all, some of the leading motorcycle brands are using PPG colors worldwide.

I think that's the thing I'm really #PPGProud of. We changed the way our customers think about color. And they know that if they want the best ones in the market, PPG will deliver.

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