If you’re already familiar with our flagship product, DriveSure, you might be surprised to hear how our company got its start. Before we served new-car dealerships, before Krex or DriveSure even existed, founder Marc Markey’s engine expertise was being tested in the high-stakes world of military planes.

In the heat of World War II, Detroit’s Packard Motor Company had a problem. They were manufacturing replacement Rolls-Royce engines for American and British aircraft, but issues with existing lubricants meant the engines were failing early performance tests. As battles were being fought every day in the skies above Europe, there was no room for error here. Countless lives were at stake.

With major competitors falling short, Markey eventually convinced Packard to try a new graphite lubricant he’d developed, and it passed with flying colors. Soon enough, the Project Engineer at Packard required that all engines they produced from that day until the end of the war be treated with Markey’s graphite lubricant.

After the war, when it became clear that this lubricant was superior to anything else on the market, Markey realized how much it could help the automotive industry too. And so, in 1947, Krex, Inc. was born as a company selling Krex Graphite Engine Lubricant to new-car dealerships throughout Detroit.

From graphite lubricants to customer retention programs

For years, Krex was a one-product company, selling our superior lubricant exclusively to new-car dealerships. We built upon our early foundation in Detroit and began to expand our presence across the country with each passing year. We also began to add to our product line, introducing fuel conditioners, fuel system cleaners and more.

It was the introduction of these new offerings that laid the foundation for what came next.

In 1987, we introduced Krex cooling system kits, and that’s when everything changed.

With these kits, we began asking dealerships to collect customer contact information on individual cards. They’d then send those cards to us and we would send letters on the dealership’s behalf to remind customers to return for service and receive a free bottle of fuel system cleaner when they did.

As this “follow-up” system was born, we saw how valuable it was to the dealerships we worked with. When we noticed how effective the system was at bringing customers back to their dealerships, again and again, we knew we had found something special.

As this system grew to meet demand, we launched more programs to keep vehicle owners coming back. Our next major milestone in driving retention for the dealerships we served was our 100,000 mile limited lubrication warranty we introduced in 1999. This warranty program provided vehicle owners with $5,000 of coverage if a lubricated part failed as long as their vehicle was regularly serviced with Krex lubricant.

Vehicle owners loved this, and so did dealerships. Vehicle owners had a new reason to return to the dealership for service and dealerships had an easy way to provide unique added value to their customers. Both Krex and our dealership customers felt a major positive impact on our businesses. From there, it only made sense to double down on retention.

DriveSure is born

By 2001, improving retention and vehicle owner satisfaction had become central to our business. We launched our first roadside assistance program that year, and a road hazard tire protection program in 2003. Next, we empowered dealerships to print oil change reminder stickers and collect customer emails with a digital tool with also sent various service reminders to customers.

Then, in 2006, we officially launched the DriveSure brand. Up until this point, our retention programs required dealerships to use Krex graphite lubricant for their customers to enjoy the benefits we were providing. With the introduction of DriveSure though, these programs became part of a standalone service.

Then and now, DriveSure makes it easy for new car dealerships to provide a unique suite of renewable benefits to vehicle owners with each qualifying routine maintenance visit or vehicle purchase. Customers enjoy dealer-loyal roadside assistance, road hazard tire protection, and alternate transportation coverage at no extra charge until their next dealer-recommended service. At that time, they simply return to the dealership for service and renew their benefits in the process.

These renewable benefits not only encourage customers to return the next time they need scheduled maintenance, they also establish the dealership’s service department as the go-to place for tires and unplanned repairs.

Always driving forward

Since its launch, DriveSure has evolved to be so much more, always adapting and growing to meet the needs and preferences of dealerships and their customers.

  • In 2007 we added WISDOM (an online dealer and customer portal), and laser-printed windshield stickers (replacing the need for a specialized sticker printer)
  • In 2010 and 2012 we launched direct mail offerings and text messaging respectively, making it easier for dealerships to reach vehicle owners when needed
  • In 2018 rolled out the Digital Pass, allowing vehicle owners easy access to benefits on their smartphone
  • In 2019 we introduced the Allstate Roadside Network affiliation program for roadside assistance, streamlining the process of getting help
  • This year, we’re launching an industry-leading, app-free digital roadside assistance to make requesting help easier than ever before

As always, we will continue to develop our offers and technologies to better meet the needs of dealerships. That includes building a stronger focus on tires and related services, as well as helping dealership service centers thrive as electric vehicles become increasingly popular.

To the employees and customers that have worked with us over the last 75 years, we’re immensely grateful for your support. We remain committed to always seeking new ways to provide unique value to dealerships and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together over the next 75 years and beyond.

Join us for a free online event on July 28th!Battling 5 Dealership Service Defection Points with DriveSure