Auto Care Packaging Trends

A look at the trends influencing auto care package design and innovation.

By: Moira Stein
Date: August 15, 2022


Automobiles are central to many of our lives. There are over 300 million vehicles in the United States and Canada, and the average person spends about an hour a day in their car. The annual miles driven and average age of operation for vehicles has increased over the last two decades, driving demand for preventive maintenance and repair. Packaging can play a critical role in both the aesthetics and performance of a winning product in the crowded auto care market.

The North American auto care industry is valued at $2.5 billion USD.


Sustainability is a theme that has gained the attention of the auto industry over the past decade. As consumers have become more environmentally responsible, so have car manufacturers and auto care packaged goods companies. These businesses are changing how they operate to address climate change and other environmental concerns. This includes setting climate reduction goals, improving fuel efficiency, developing hybrid and fully electric vehicles, and using eco-friendly packaging. When it comes to packaging, several leading auto care brands are introducing more sustainable solutions, including the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, light-weighted bottles, refill systems, and more. Studio One Eleven created custom-designed spray bottles for Turtle Wax that use 30% PCR plastic. These lighter-weight 16oz and 26oz packages cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce resin use for a total savings of 62,000 tons of plastic a year.

More than two-thirds of consumers identify as environmentally aware.
– Boston Consulting Group study

  • Turtle Wax
  • Vatoil - New packaging uses 95% PCR plastic with 70% CO2 reduction


Thousands of products are available to clean, polish, lubricate, freshen, and supercharge our vehicles. Standing out in this crowded category is difficult, and packaging can play a critical role in differentiating from the competition and winning over consumers. Added functionality and convenience benefits can provide a valuable point of difference, especially in a category that is often considered a chore. Packaging that offers better dispensing, easier handling, time-saving advantages, and more can create an improved user experience that drives trial and builds brand loyalty.

Studio One Eleven developed a custom bottle for Fast Orange hand cleaner based on research that revealed consumers prefer one-handed dispensing while washing their hands. Using this knowledge, the Studio’s designers created a clever rocker closure. Simply tap the bottle on its bottom corner to open the spout and dispense; tap the spout to close.

Custom design features can help simplify the user experience and differentiate from the competition.

  • TPS custom bottle - Designed for a controlled, glug-free pour and has an extra-large handle for easy handling, even with gloves
  • Armor All 2-in-1 Wash & Wax - Built-in dosing cap saves time and effort.
  • Fast Orange Hand Cleaner

Smart Packaging

We’re living in a hyper-connected world where consumers rely on technology to communicate with each other, share brand experiences, become more educated about the companies they support, and learn valuable information about the products they buy. Technology is increasingly used to help brands provide elevated and interactive user experiences for their customers.

Lucas Oil’s new QR code smart packaging provides customers instant access to relevant product details, including key benefits, performance information, complementary products, environmental and ecological information, disposal considerations, formulation and chemical properties, and handling, transport, and storage information.

Over 1 in 3 millennials say how “digitally advanced/smart” a product is influences their purchase decision.

  • Lucas Oil QR code packaging

Shelf Impact

A package typically has less than two seconds to capture a shopper’s attention at shelf. Effective package design is critical to getting noticed. Unique silhouettes and structural details like embossments, hand grips, and custom handle shapes can disrupt the crowded auto care aisle. Impactful brand design can also make a difference. Dark colors, metallics, and bold typography can help reinforce efficacy and superior performance.

To help Black Magic stand out in the crowded auto care aisle, Studio One Eleven’s industrial design team elevated the traditional spray bottle by creating a faceted diamond-shaped neck pattern suggestive of luxury car styling. The custom package conveys the product benefit of a clean shine while feeling unique and premium.

Everest Motor Oil’s eye-catching custom 4L bottle, designed by Studio One Eleven, resulted in a 20% increase in sales.

  • Black Magic
  • Morgas
  • Everest Motor Oil

The brands mentioned in this report are trademarks of their respective owners.
Inclusion of these brands in this report is not meant to imply an association with or endorsement from the respective trademark owners.