Originally devised to help United States Air Force stealth bombers evade detection by radar, these days the window-tinting technology behind V-Kool is used for a more down to earth purpose: keeping the inside of cars and buildings cooler in the heat. And it is in big demand in the UAE, where almost 3,000 cars a month are fitted with the film. KT Govindarajan, the president of the performance window film division of Kapico Group, which owns the V-Kool franchise here, speaks about the local market.
You launched V-Kool in the UAE 10 years ago. How easy was it to establish the brand?
People used to call us mad [for selling a layer of film for about Dh3,500]. It was a big challenge to launch a premium product in the market at this price. The competitors were still offering their brands at Dh500 (US$136) or Dh800.
How did you address that?
Value for money is what we pitched and we were very successful. We approached the automotive dealerships. We started with Al Futtaim, then Trading Enterprises, then GMC. But we were not totally dependent on any of the dealerships for starting our business.
Along with your operations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you also opened bases in Mega Mall in Sharjah, Dubai Festival City and Mirdif City Centre. But why have you not also opened in upmarket malls such as Dubai Mall, where many of your target customers shop?
We have not gone in [Dubai Mall], although we have been approached to be there. With Marina Mall [in Abu Dhabi], we were a little late in our approach. We are looking at being in places where we can [open] some unique premium outlets. One such area is Jumeirah. The other side is also towards Ibn Battuta. And [we also want to open in] the Northern Emirates. This is all to happen before the middle of 2013.
What's your market share?
In premium windows, [it] should be nothing less than 47 per cent or 48 per cent.
V-Kool is seen as a premium product. How do you compete against companies that fit window tints for less?
We brought in a category that is much superior than our existing competitors' product in [terms of value]. It is in the range of Dh899. It has been very successful. These customers get into the V-Kool look by choosing these packages. The [idea behind it] is that these customers go in for upgrades down the line to a premium product.
How much do your packages go up to?
Up to Dh7,000. It's a different category of film. You can even say it is 90 per cent heat reduction. Normally this is [more popular] with locals.