Why Did Mobil 1 Fail?

Mobil 1 Annual Protection has become one of the big automotive flops of 2017. Why did it happen?

bySteven Lang|
Why Did Mobil 1 Fail?


One year of protection and 20,000 miles—Mobil 1 had decided late last year that the DIY guys among us were willing to pay a stiff price premium for a product that could make oil changes an annualized 'one and done' proposition. 

It was a good idea, until it wasn't. When Mobil 1 Annual Protection was released, three big problems became a brutal reality for the marketers at Mobil.

1) Nobody wanted to pay $50 for a 5-quart jug of motor oil.

2) Mobil 1 Extended Performance, which offered a 15,000-mile guarantee, was already at the industry's sweet spot. Nobody wanted to pay double for an extra 5,000 miles. 

3) No manufacturer was willing to endorse the product. 

The third issue was probably the hardest for Mobil to overcome. Way back in 1993 Mobil had scored an endorsement with General Motors for the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. with their Mobil 1 Synthetic  

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It was the perfect combination of a high-performance car pairing up with a motor oil that already a healthy track record on a national level. Sales took off for Mobil 1 thanks to that partnership. 

This time no automaker with a souped up performance car stepped forward. No Dodge Hellcats or Demons. No Lexus LCs. Not even a new endorsement from General Motors. Mobil 1 Annual Protection simply occupied shelf space at Walmart and other oil retailers throughout the country with minimal movement. 

So today this oil just sits. It brings on an interesting question. At what price point would a 1 year / 20,000-mile point be worth it? Right now two other manufacturers, Amsoil and Redline, have an oil that can go 25,000 miles between oil changes. Should Mobil aim for that level of longevity? Or is there some type of psychological issue that keeps most consumers from accepting that long of an oil change interval?