Home » Our Brand Partner XPEL Flew Me To A Huge Company Conference And It Was Nerdy And Fun [Partner Post]

Our Brand Partner XPEL Flew Me To A Huge Company Conference And It Was Nerdy And Fun [Partner Post]

Xpel Conference Top (1)
ADVERTISEMENT

I realize the idea of a company conference held at a hotel convention center doesn’t exactly stir most peoples’ souls, but the one XPEL sent me to was legitimately fun. XPEL is The Autopian’s brand partner, and the ultimate purveyor of Paint Protection Film (PPF), a polyurethane film that experts meticulously apply over your car’s precious paint to keep it looking minty. Here’s what the trip to the company’s home city of San Antonio was like.

As I’ve written about before, The Autopian is proudly in a partnership with XPEL, a company that makes PPF that many, many folks in the car world love — folks including The Autopian’s sister-company Galpin Auto Sports, many of whose high-end cars are protected by XPEL.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I myself am interested in XPEL because I know lots of folks in the off-road world who spend loads of money on new Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos, then spend more money on mods, only to be limited by tree branches that they don’t want scratching up their fresh paint. I like the idea of XPEL PPF as an off-road enabler, especially on fancy new vehicles — but also on classics like my 1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ. In fact, XPEL was kind enough to install PPF onto my off-road chariot:

I’m in the process of planning an off-road trip to put that PPF to the test.Screen Shot 2024 01 15 At 9.39.22 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

Anyway, back to the conference. Here’s a little Instagram video of what it was like:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Autopian (@theautopian)

It was big — like, absurdly big. There are 500 dealers from around the world represented; one guy even flew in from Australia! The emcee for the event was renowned NASCAR reporter Alex Weaver:

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 11.43.52 Am

XPEL’s CEO Ryan Pape was there keeping morale high and announcing new products. To the right of him is a BMW X2 that XPEL PPF installers piloted in the Rebelle Rally. As you can see, the thing looks minty even post-rally:

ADVERTISEMENT

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 11.44.15 Am

The new windshield protection film especially got the crowd of dealers excited; they even cheered! Look at all these folks at the conference:

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 11.27.55 Am Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.07.19 Pm

There were demos teaching dealers how to install that windshield protection film:

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.08.14 Pm

ADVERTISEMENT

There was a competition for dealers to see who could install PPF with as few imperfections as possible (the winners won good money):

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.08.59 Pm Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.09.12 Pm

Here are the judges looking at the work with a fine-tooth comb:Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.09.38 Pm

There were even a number of Breakout Sessions, including this Advanced PPF Training course. I attended and watched as dealers traded best-practices, and XPEL’s own experts discussed the very best ways to install that clear film onto cars without running into snags:

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.10.04 PmScreen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.10.13 Pm

ADVERTISEMENT

Check out this demo on how the ratio of Johnson & Johnson baby soap-to-water affects the “slip layer” meant to hold the self-healing polyurethane to the car without preventing it from sliding as the installation specialist precisely guides it to where it needs to sit.

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.10.34 PmScreen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.10.59 PmScreen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.10.50 PmScreen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.11.20 Pm

Here are XPEL’s recommended slip solution and alcohol solution concoctions:

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.11.07 Pm

Here are my notes from the event:

ADVERTISEMENT

437356326 963312481851297 1689626845600546053 N

You can see scribbles about how the company is making changes to its Design Access Program software that dealers use to “print” PPF cuts that fit customers’ vehicles perfectly; there’s a note about XPEL rolling out a new app for dealers. Apparently the company is involved in marine protection film for boats, plus there’s even an anti-graffiti window film; there’s film to protect mountain bikes, and there’s a dotted bird-strike film that keeps birds from killing themselves by flying into glass.

There’s a note in there that I spoke to some gentlemen from Gary, Indiana during breakfast. They talked about how PPF is a “breadwinner” for their company; they were cool dudes, and of course huge XPEL fans. Plus I have notes on the aforementioned PPF-installation best practices. Apparently you’re not supposed to shake the bottle of soapy water or you’ll get bubbles; instead, you’re supposed to just rotate it. I have a note that too much alcohol in the solution can cause the PPF to turn white or blue or even melt. And there’s a best practice about the importance of rinsing out kegs and bottles (which have slip solution, stickier “tack,” or even stickier gel in them).

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 12.09.54 Pm

At the bottom of that last note I’ve written that apparently the Porsche 992 mirror can be a huge challenge to wrap film around. And then I have something about the Porsche Taycan, though I don’t know what it says because my cats chewed up my notebook.

ADVERTISEMENT

434921500 963684841982773 2856262541493516356 N

First they’re born in my 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee five-speed, and use that as not only their house but their litter box. Now they’re chewing up my notes. They’re lucky they’re so cute.

Screen Shot 2024 04 24 At 2.33.07 Pm

Anyway, the conference was a lot of fun. I learned a lot, I spoke with people really passionate about XPEL PPF, and the vibes were good. XPEL knows how to keep the vibes good; just look at this party they invited me to after SEMA last year:

ADVERTISEMENT

Anyway, time to off-road this Jeep through some brush.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
17 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
22 days ago

Hi kitties!

Rhymes With Bronco
Rhymes With Bronco
23 days ago

Carolina pinstripe prevention.

Ben
Ben
23 days ago

I’m curious what the purpose of the windshield protection is. Is it like permanent RainX that is easier to clean bug guts off? I’m not coming up with any other reasons you would want something like that on the windshield.

Lotsofchops
Lotsofchops
23 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Maybe it helps prevent rock chips/cracks? I could see it being worth it for a more expensive car if it prevents those.

Drew Hampel
Drew Hampel
24 days ago

You need to find someone who is not the editor in chief (nor any editor, nor anyone with content authority) to do partner posts. From a journalistic standpoint, this is despicable and absolutely makes me question supporting the site.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
23 days ago
Reply to  Drew Hampel

I mean, it’s clearly and repeatedly stated that they’re a brand partner and thus a sponsored post. It’s not like they’re trying to pull a fast one on you.

The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
23 days ago
Reply to  Drew Hampel

Is this…um…your out-of-left-field application to work for the Autopian?

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
22 days ago
Reply to  Drew Hampel

Hey Drew! Thank you for asking about this. This was a very conscious choice. The reality is that basically every EIC of every publication does this, they just dress it up as something else.

Here’s the EIC of MotorTrend bragging about the “software-defined vehicle awards,” sponsored by the company that makes the software that underpins many (most?) vehicles:

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/edwardloh_2024-software-defined-vehicle-innovator-awards-activity-7105751479608647680-fKJV/?trk=public_profile_like_view

I’ve worked on projects, in the past, for other publications where the job was to essentially sneak editorial into commercial and it sucked. I didn’t like it. In these situations a salesperson sells something and then editorial has to figure it out.

We do this exactly the opposite way. While we’re open to being pitched, we generally find partners we like who have products we use/need and build something around our honest use/appreciation of the product. XPEL is a product we already knew/used/loved and so it made sense to partner with them. We’ve had people come to us with products we didn’t believe in or didn’t think we’d use and we politely told them ‘no thanks.’

The most honest path in this business is disclosure and I don’t know how we could be any clearer about what’s going on here.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
24 days ago

David: have you considered getting your notebooks wrapped in PPF to avoid biting issues?

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
24 days ago

Cats!

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
24 days ago

If Xpel is wondering how their partnership with the Autopian is doing…my BRZ has the whole front end coated with it now for track day protection.

Goof
Goof
24 days ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

I have a pretty comprehensive install that’s 8.5 years old that’s taken some small rock hits at WELL into triple digits. Worth. Every. Cent.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
24 days ago

I can’t believe I read this entire article, and the LEAST intersection part was about the cats! There is some seriously nerdy stuff going on at that conference!

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
24 days ago

Here I am, paying money to read about a company conference for paint protection film. I didn’t know I could be so nerdy. I’ve finally found my people.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
24 days ago

I used to have an orange cat that was the spitting image of your orange one. He was generally friendly but could get a little bitey at times.

Goof
Goof
24 days ago

Meow are the cats doing?

ESO
ESO
24 days ago

Aww, the kitties! Haven’t heard much about them recently, but it appears that they are very healthy and happy. 🙂

17
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x