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Shell Amps up the Volume about its Claim

 As reported in JobbersWorld last Friday, Shell went public with a claim that a sample of Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 CK-4 Shell examined “does not meet the minimum API CK-4 requirements or the Volvo/Mack or Cummins OEM requirements.”   

While the claim was initially made public on Shell’s website in release accompanied by a “Full Report” displaying graphics illustrating a comparison of test results on Volvo T-13 for samples of Rotella and Delvac, Shell’s website now includes a video (click to see video) where Shell says “Through this testing, we discovered that a sample of Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 not only failed the requirements of API CK-4, but also the Volvo VDS 4.5, MACK EOS 4.5 and the Cummins CES 20086 performance standards.”  Videos are also now appearing on YouTube (see link 1 and link 2).

Shell marketers were made aware of the claim in advance of the public announcement and they along with select customers were invited to join a Shell webcast about the claim on Wednesday of this week. From what JobbersWorld has learned, the webcast stayed on script to the talking points made public. Further, marketers were cautioned about the sensitivity of the claim and to avoid any disparaging statements toward ExxonMobil. At the same time, news about the claim, including the video, is said to be part of Shell’s efforts to get the word out to customers and prospects.

While you can be sure Shell and its marketers are already pounding the pavement to capture new business with Shell’s claim in hand, some others question the veracity of the claim and believe ExxonMobil will take swift legal action to challenge it and minimize damages. To this point, the comment of one reader expresses the thoughts of several others heard by JobbersWorld.

It is inconceivable that ExxonMobil would not have obtained an approval and completely followed the rules for industry testing. Evidence of this would be in the documentation for the API claims. Further, ExxonMobil would have to apply for and review the data with various OEM’s to secure approvals for Volvo VDS 4.5 which is more severe than API CK-4/FA-4.  With that, the OEMs would have to accept the results, which according to ExxonMobil, they did, and stand by it.”

Another comment coming from someone with a rich history in the business says:

“Not something I would want to take sides on, but from my experience, one test does not ensure good or bad performance. Although, no one ever questions when a product passes or yields great results, many questions are asked when one fails. I suspect we will hear more about these questions and the answers if ExxonMobil challenges Shell’s claim.” 

Although JobbersWorld received other comments about Shell’s claim, understandably, all who commented did so “off the record.”

NOTE: ExxonMobil reached out to JobbersWorld on Tuesday of this week with the following statement regarding Shell’s claim:

“ExxonMobil stands by the quality of our products and has re-affirmed for our distributors and customers that Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 carries valid OEM approvals and API CK-4 licensing. In addition, Volvo has confirmed that the Volvo VDS-4.5 and Mack EOS-4.5 approvals for Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 remain intact based on the fully compliant data set originally submitted, which includes passing the Volvo T-13 engine test results for oxidation and viscosity increase at the more stringent Volvo limits. Beyond valid API licensure and OEM approvals, Mobil Delvac 1300 Super and Mobil Delvac Super FE have proven on-road performance in ExxonMobil controlled field trials utilizing 69 representative trucks accumulating 23 million miles. ExxonMobil cannot address the specifics of the test results Shell produced, because we do not have the data, but we are conducting a thorough investigation.”

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