In the 1950s the automotive industry around the world began to flourish. In the years following the war, owning a car and becoming mobile was a dream that many could finally make come true. In 1955, Germany was already producing the millionth VW Beetle. Known locally as the Knutschkugel – roughly translated to mean the “kissing spot” – it had become popular far beyond Germany’s borders and was soon to be produced globally.
At the same time, demand for automotive paints surged. And that inspired an employee of the paint manufacturers Herberts based in Wuppertal, Germany. The 22-year-old Gerhard Rieger, who had only just completed his apprenticeship two years earlier, presented his idea for a new refinish range at a distributor conference. The distributors were enthusiastic, but at Herberts, his idea was met with reticence. The research and development departments were rather sceptical, but Rieger didn’t lose heart and found an unlikely ally in the head of company, Dr Kurt Herberts, who gave the ok for the new project to go ahead.
Kurt Herberts’ family had been involved with coatings for generations. His grandfather had founded a paint works in Barmen, Germany in 1866 and had passed it on to his sons in 1901. In 1927, Kurt took over the management and Herberts quickly became one of Germany’s leading paint manufacturers. Two particularly interesting projects are worth mentioning: Herberts supplied the paint for the famous Graf Zeppelin airship, and for the Do-X, the largest seaplane ever built.
The refinish paint Herberts launched onto the market in 1955 under the name Standox – a combination of “Standoil” (a raw material for paint production) and “oxidative” (drying) – was so successful that it was soon used as the name for a full product range. The advertising slogan of the time was “Standox – true to the original” as the refinish paints stood out for their excellent colour matching with OEM paints.
An important step on the path towards building a brand identity: from 1960 onwards, all packaging included the “bow-tie” in the blue Standox colour. From 1963 on, Standox conferred the “Safety through professional work” seal on its partner bodyshops. Over time, this initially loose association of quality bodyshops became Repanet, what we know today as the network of outstanding bodyshops that covers the whole of Europe.
Thanks to the good contacts of the field sales force, Standox knew exactly where bodyshops faced problems. This repeatedly led to product innovations with which Standox supported its customers and set new standards for the industry. In this way, the metallic two-coat paint (1968) for example made new colours possible, the One Visit Application (1992) helped to make refinish work more efficient, the Exclusive Line (1995) introduced unique colour nuances and the Standoflash UV technology (2007) sped up micro-repairs. The brand’s claim not just to copy market developments but often to anticipate them has remained part of the Standox identity to this day.