Introducing the Carlack range…

November 21st, 2014

Say hello to... Carlack

It’s been a little while since we last took on any new brands, mainly because we’ve been focusing on other areas of our business, but also because the car care market has become rather saturated, meaning that future decisions about what to use and stock need to be taken more carefully. However, our hand was recently forced by news from Werkstat that they have ceased production of their existing product range for the foreseeable future. The reason for this decision remains unclear, but Werkstat have advised that when products bearing their name do eventually reappear on the market they will be significantly different to those in the current range. As you might expect, we were quite upset by this news, as the team at Werkstat have been very good to us over the years, and their products have become a core part of our store.

Faced with the prospect of losing these much loved formulas, we decided that the only logical course of action for us was to get in touch with Carlack. It has long been public knowledge that many of the current Werkstat products are modified versions of popular Carlack formulas, so we figured that the likely overlap between the two ranges would probably be sufficient to fill the void about to be created by the loss of Werkstat. After a frantic month of testing, we’ve now made the decision to stock the entire Carlack line up; as we expected, there are many similarities between it and the existing Werkstat range. Accordingly, the purpose of this blog post is to formally introduce the Carlack brand to you and then outline these similarities, so as to enable you to switch over to the Carlack equivalents when your existing stocks of Werkstat products run out.

First things first then; who are Carlack? Well, their story began back in 1958 when Helmut Reckling founded Carlack Chemie. In his small workshop on the shores of Lake Constance he began to develop and manufacture a new generation of paint preservatives. One year later he launched the first fully synthetic car wax, which he called Carlack 68 (the 68 moniker implying it was way ahead of its time, which it was, thanks to its easy to use formula and excellent longevity). To develop an entirely new product under his own steam was a massive achievement for Reckling, but looking back now it was just one of many milestones in his career. Over the next five decades he relentlessly devoted himself to further developing his synthetic sealant technology and expanded the range with maintenance products and formulas for aircraft and yachts.

Notable milestones in the Carlack timeline are as follows. In 1969, polyethylene was incorporated into the paint conserving formulas for the very first time. In 1980, technology from four existing conserving formulas was combined to produce the first systematic care product, which improved both production efficiency and the end user experience. In 1986, the Gold Medal of Surface Protection Technology was awarded to Carlack for its new polyethylene-acryl compound, which was incorporated into the systematic care formula for the first time the following year. In 1996, further research and development yielded a 30% improvement in durability and a doubling of the UV protection on offer. Finally, in 2004, nanotechnology was incorporated into the conserving formulas for the first time, following successful ISO 9001 accreditation.

Today, Carlack Gesellschaft für Technik und Handel mbH now exports to 35 countries around the world and has branches in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, France, Spain and the USA. The company was sold by Helmut Reckling in 2012 and is now a subsidiary of the Swiss Max Lehner AG group, who have already invested heavily in an expansion of the product range and future-orientated branding. Under the new managing director, Mr Dersim Stein, old values and qualities are being retained and enhanced by progressive developments in the product portfolio and recognition of the brand. A bold and bright packaging facelift in late 2012 has paved the way for the continued success of Carlack for many years to come. Now that you know more about Carlack, it’s time to run through their products and draw your attention to the Werkstat equivalents.

In order to make this task easier, I’ll work through the products in the order in which they appear when you shop our store by category. First up is the Carlack Acrylic Kit, which is a direct replacement for the legendary Werkstat Acrylic Kit. As you’ll discover later on this post, there is a significant amount of overlap between the products comprising these two systems, and in a blind test you’d be hard pushed to tell both them and their resulting finishes apart. As per the Werkstat kit, the finish produced by the Carlack Acrylic Kit is best described by mirror-like reflectivity, razor sharp clarity and, on metallic and pearlescent finishes, the most intense degree of flake pop imaginable; silvers and greys in particular look simply amazing after being treated with it…

Werkstat Acrylic Kit > Carlack Acrylic Kit

Carlack Insect Remove has no Werkstat equivalent, but makes a nice addition to our line up as we’ve always been a little short of choices in our ‘pre-wash bug & grime removers’ category. Moving on to ‘shampoos, buckets & wash mitts’, we now have Carlack Shampoo featuring in place of Werkstat Wash. However, it’s important to note that Werkstat Wash was developed exclusively by the Werkstat team, so there is very little similarity between the two products (other than the fact that they are both shampoos!). That said, Carlack Shampoo is a cracker, and equally as impressive in its own way. It offers excellent cleansing power and easy rinsing, which makes it a great choice for year-round use…

Werkstat Wash > Carlack Shampoo

Next up are a trio of products that again have no Werkstat equivalents. Carlack Wheel & Rim and Carlack Excellence Wheel & Rim Gel are both iron-dissolving wheel cleaners, with the former offering entry level performance at a keen price point and the latter combining iron-dissolving technology with an active surface protectant for the very first time. Both products work well, but the Excellence version is miles ahead in terms of performance, thanks to its more intense cleaning action and the fact that it lays down fresh protection every time you use it. Carlack Cutting Compound has just been revised and now comes in the form of a very blue liquid abrasive. Once you get over the unusual colour it’s a great product to work with, by both hand and machine, and quite similar to Menzerna Power Finish (203S) in terms of levels of cut and gloss.

Moving on to ‘all in one cleaners & polishes’, we now have Carlack Complete and Carlack Excellence Complete in place of Werkstat Prime and Werkstat Prime Carnauba respectively. It’s fair to say that these formulas are very similar performance-wise, even though they smell differently, and the overlap is clear. If you’ve been a long term user of either Prime or Prime Carnauba you will immediately feel at home with these Carlack equivalents. Both Carlack Complete and Carlack Excellence Complete are exceptional chemical paint cleaners that also lay down a fantastic looking basecoat of acrylic protection, with the main difference being that the Excellence version incorporates Brazilian No.1 carnauba wax for a richer, glossier look…

Werkstat Primes > Carlack Completes

Next up is Carlack Long Life, which, as its name suggests, is the most durable product in the Carlack range. It replaces Werkstat Jett in the ‘synthetic sealants & coatings’ section of our store and again shares many similarities, although Jett was supplied in a less-viscous sprayable format, whereas Long Life is supplied as a thicker cream that must be wiped on and then buffed off. Given the historical popularity of Jett, we thought we’d try a little experiment; given that the Long Life formula is fully miscible, we tried diluting it 1:1 with deionised water to see if this would make it sprayable. Guess what? It does! Although it no doubt lays down less protection in this guise, it is quicker and easier to use, which makes it appealing for routine maintenance duties, particularly during the winter months when other products become hard to use.

Werkstat Jett > Carlack Long Life

Moving on to ‘quick detailing sprays’, we now have Carlack Fast Detailer in place of Werkstat Glos. Even though these formulas are similar performance-wise, it’s important to note that Werkstat Glos was developed exclusively by the Werkstat team, so there is technically no overlap between the two products (other than the fact that they are both quick detailers!). That said, Carlack Fast Detailer is equally as impressive in its own way; it noticeably enhances surface gloss and prolongs the life of existing sealant layers almost indefinitely…

Werkstat Glos > Carlack Fast Detailer

Next up are a trio of glass care products that have no Werkstat equivalents. Carlack Glass Compound is a solvent-based polish that intensively cleans glass surfaces in readiness for the application of protection; think of it as a scrubbing agent that quickly and efficiently removes stubborn films and bonded surface contaminants. Carlack Glass Clear is an intensive detergent-based glass cleaner that cuts through and removes residual grease and grime; it leaves glass surfaces crystal-clear and squeaky-clean, and therefore prepares them perfectly for the application of Carlack Glass Finish. The latter is a solvent-based coating that forms a hydrophobic (water hating) barrier layer on automotive glass. It achieves this by laying down an ultra-smooth coating of reactive compounds that cure to form a microfilm that repels rain, sleet and snow upon contact. As a result, airflow over the car rapidly disperses water droplets at speeds in excess of 30 mph, resulting in vastly improved visibility and driving comfort in wet weather conditions.

Next up is Carlack Prime Cleaner, which has no Werkstat equivalent, but makes a nice addition to our line up as we’ve always been a little short of choices in our ‘multi-purpose cleaners’ category. Last but not least we have Carlack Plastic Renew, which is a close equivalent of Werkstat Prot. It’s fair to say that these formulas are very similar performance-wise, even though they smell differently, and the overlap is clear; if you’ve been a long term user of Prot then you’ll hardly notice the difference. Whilst it is advertised as being suitable for use on plastic trims both inside and out, our own experience with Plastic Renew thus far has confirmed that its durability is rather limited in situations where wet weather prevails. Therefore, as was the case with Prot, we’ll be recommending it predominantly for interior use and for dressing engine bays…

Werkstat Prot > Carlack Plastic Renew

In summary then, the Carlack range has a lot going for it; the products work really well, are very reasonably priced and we love the bold and bright branding. Being brutally honest, if the supply of Werkstat hadn’t ceased then we wouldn’t have looked at Carlack this year, next year or possibly even ever. However, every cloud has a silver lining as they say, and we’re now extremely glad that this opportunity has arisen. The loss of Werkstat is a blow for sure, but it is a void that can be filled (and then some it turns out) by Carlack, and we’re excited about what the future may bring. We hope that this post helps you to navigate the changeover, but if you have any questions then we will of course be happy to help and keep you straight.

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14 Responses to “Introducing the Carlack range…”

  1. Karl Fennell says:


  2. Awesome news. So excited to find this under your roof now. It is among the best products I have ever used. Love the results. You should launch it on special special offer. Am waiting for it. Best of luck, regards, Kashif.

  3. David says:

    Wow just had your email regarding the loss of Werkstat. This product was awesome on our silver/grey range of cars we detail before sale. I have just completed a grey Seat Cupra today and it looks fantastic. We however will trust your decision to add Carlack to your range to replace it as it must be okay if you like it. Look forward to trying it. As they say “The king is dead – long live the new king”. David.

  4. joeb says:

    I put Glass Finish on all my glass in July. The side windows are still going strong, but only now does the windscreen/rear screen look like they may need a new application. But only just, I’m being fussy, here. Works well, doddle to apply.

  5. dave c says:

    Wow just used Werkstat Prime today well pleased. Good products but hey if they come back I am sure they will be even better. In the meantime I will just have to use Carlack. It’ll be okay if you guys take it on board.

  6. Rob W says:

    Gutted to lose Werkstat! However, sounds like Carlack is a worthy replacement. Is there anything to replace Prime Strong?

  7. @Karl, @DaveC – As we said on Detailing World, it’s not the end of the world, particularly if you’re using the acrylic products. Prime and Complete are very similar, as are Glos and Fast Detailer. Jett is much thinner than Long Life, but you can make the latter sprayable if you wish (as explained in its How To Use instructions). We think the transition will be relatively painless in many cases.

    @Kashif – Yes, it’s quite likely we’ll run occasional special offers on the Carlack line, as we did for Werkstat over the years. However, with the Christmas holidays coming up now is not the right time – we’ve got other plans for our Christmas offers!

    @David – We guarantee that you will be as equally pleased with the results that the Carlack Acrylic Kit gives on silvers and greys – the Werkstat acrylic and Carlack acrylic products come from the same master family of chemical formulas, and the overlap in many cases is significant, as outlined above.

    @Joeb – That’s great to hear and confirms our own findings for the durability of Glass Finish. Thanks for sharing!

    @RobW – Sadly there is no direct replacement (yet) for Prime Strong in the Carlack line up; Complete is the closest match, but is more the direct equivalent of the standard version of Prime. Fingers crossed Carlack will consider making their own version of Prime Strong in due course.

  8. Joeb says:

    I also put Glass Finish on all the windows on my house in July. Result? I’ve sacked the window cleaner, they are still spotless. Seriously! I didn’t get around yet to putting a new application on the front and rear screens, but it’s still working, only marginally less than at its peak. Will do it this week…

  9. mark wade says:

    Hi, I am using the Werkstat Acrylic Kit on my pearlescent white Lexus CT 200 Premier (which you recommended) – it is amazing. I am getting low on Werkstat Glos – will I be able to use Carlack Fast Detailer with the rest of the Werkstat products or will I have to replace them all? Keep up the excellent work!

  10. @Mark – Yes, all of the products in the Werkstat and Carlack acrylic systems are mutually compatible across the board, so you can simply replace your Werkstat products as and when the need arises (i.e. when you run out of them) rather than having to start over with all new Carlack products.

  11. mark wade says:

    Hi, I just received my bottle of Carlack Excellence Wheel & Rim Gel. Excellent service yet again! Should I use it every time I wash my car (the wheels never really get that dirty) or can I alternate it with Carlack Wheel & Rim cleaner? Cheers.

  12. @Mark – Yes, you can certainly do as suggested. Another option is to try washing the rims with a normal shampoo mix in between periodic treatments with the gel, i.e. maybe every other wash, or maybe two shampoo washes and then a gel wash, and so on and so forth. There’s no hard and fast rules so it’s always worth experimenting with these issues, particularly when products are expensive and some savings might be able to be made.

  13. Michael Gamblin says:

    No replacement for Werkstat Prime Strong which I have used as a very satisfactory post-decontamination base coat on paint and wheels before applying two or more coats of sealant?

  14. @Michael – Unfortunately there is no direct replacement in the current Carlack range, but Complete will do a good job, in the same way that the standard version of Prime used to when used instead of Prime Strong.

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