As our team walked towards the Foilacar Industries workshop, we were immediately greeted by a trio of exotics. It's pretty much just another day in the shop and work never stops for the man behind the company, Lester Codog.
Codog kindly set time from his busy schedule to share us his story on how the company came to be one of the global leaders in specialized automotive and industrial wrapping. He also shared to us how foiling or wrapping isn't just limited to the automotive sector
One could say that Codog stumbled across the business in a series of chances and perfectly timed opportunities.
“Wrapping was initially for emergency vehicle purposes.” says Codog.
For example, BMW would lease out 400 units to a police agency. Instead of repainting the cars for service, the cars were simply wrapped in police or ambulance livery and the wrap will be taken off at the end of the vehicle's time in service. It helps helps not just the car company but also the police department, cutting down on costs, and the wrapping industry which has grown since emergency services started applying the said method for their fleet.
So how did Codog come across this industry? “At the time, I was based in Dubai with a friend. There were four Germans who approached the Dubai Police to wrap their fleet. Unfortunately for the four Germans, the police wanted their cars painted.”
The Foilacar story could have ended there but Codog saw an opportunity. “Foiling a car was seen as a luxury in Dubai” he said. Codog thought of bringing over this tech to the Asia-Pacific Region.
Initially, Codog was supposed to set up shop in Singapore. After all, there are more exotics than Fortuners over there. However, when he arrived in the Philippines, a friend of his wanted to try out foiling a car and, as they say, the rest is history.
Fast forward many years later and Foilacar has wrapped not just exotics but regular cars and fleets as well. Despite having 'car' on the company name, Lester Codog has even bigger plans for the company by adding in home and commercial applications. “We are doing a lot of R&D at the moment” adds Codog.
By the looks (and feel) of things, the company has done a big chunk of their homework, with marble and wood grain finishes that can convince even the sharpest eyes. Like on their cars, the home and commercial applications for wrapping look and feel top notch. As a bonus, Codog adds that using wraps cuts down on expensive natural resources, saving the consumer money and more importantly, helping the environment. It also helps in long term costs with the company's wraps being just as tough as paint with the bonus of a protective layer. Foilacar gives the consumers the chance to update interiors for their homes or other vehicles with 5,000 patterns to choose from.
Other uses for wrapping? There's aviation and maritime uses. At the time of writing, Codog is working on a deal for one of the world's biggest and luxurious cruise ships. As for aviation, decals are now applied rather than paint, saving airlines hundreds of thousands of dollars and cuts down on operation costs.
That's not saying they've completely abandoned wrapping cars, far from it. Foilacar still makes wraps and make them well they do. The company has blurred the line between paint and wraps. Coming soon is their gloss top coat for that extra shine. As a bonus, Codog says that it protects the original paint underneath the car and gives the owner an added bonus of personalizing his or her vehicle.
Showing us around the shop floor was Foilacar's Jan Vincent Mercado. As we approached the cars in the shop, we couldn't help but ask Mercado if the sports cars in the shop were about to be wrapped. To our surprise, the cars we saw were completed models, which goes to show how much quality goes in to each project they're given.
After getting to know Lester Codog, one can say that the man is a visionary, seeing that wrapping is the future. It's no surprise then that Codog gets wrapping contracts abroad for automotive and commercial applications, be it land, sea and air. It's also amazing that all of this started with a failed bid that turned into a window of opportunity.